chapter  11
13 Pages

Disruptive Joy

#BlackOutDay’s Affirmative Resonances
ByAlexander Cho

In Twitter or Tumblr on March 6, 2015, scores of black Twitter and Tumblr users were taking, uploading, and circulating selfies, intentionally flooding the system with black faces. By noon, there were over 58,000 tweets with the hashtag #BlackOutDay (Tan). The author had been participating in queer-of-color Tumblr networks for five years at this point as a user-ethnographer and he hadn't seen anything like this—this massive, this guttural, and this affirmative. Many people read the selfie as the consummate act of vanity, and the "millennial" generation has been dismissively referred to as the "selfie generation". However, this practice, on this day, had a different tilt. According to one widely read Tumblr, TheBlackout. org, the original impetus for #BlackOutDay was: In a show of community and solidarity, for those 24 hours, we are exclusively posting and reblogging pics, gifs, videos, selfies, etc. of Black people. We want to show that Black History is happening today, right now.