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Meet the Next Generation of Black Lives Matter Activists Who Are Using TikTok To Create Change

Kells McPhillips

Kells McPhillipsJune 25, 2020

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Photo: Getty Images/Kentaroo Tryman

TikTok user Gem’s bio reads “the revolution will be TikTok’d”—and they’re certainly not alone in that belief or intention given that TikTok activism is, well, a thing. Recently, a number of TikTok users claimed to register for tickets to President Donald Trump‘s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, without having any intention to attend. The effect was a silent protest of sorts, with the rally attendance numbers falling dramatically shorter than what was predicted.

Furthermore, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on TikTok has garnered more than 12 billion views, and many users of the social media platform have deemed the short vide clips it supports their medium of choice for striking effective change. Which, as a reminder, can take shape in a number of ways, including disrupting, storytelling, and guiding.

Gem and a host of other Black Lives Matter activists are leading the charge of using TikTok as a medium for striking change, and allies to the Black community would benefit from following them, stat. Take note of what each of the following five TikTok activists has to say about issues like defunding the police, shadowbanning on TikTok, and white fragility. Then use your own voice to amplify their worthy messages conveyed via TikTok activism.

Follow these 5 trailblazers of TikTok activism in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

1. Gem, @urdoinggreat

@urdoingreatabolition means complete & total financial divestment from inherently violent institutions♬ original sound – eboyofcolour

Gem’s videos are poignant callouts of white privilege, white fragility, and white centering. In the video above, they focus on the fact that, although many white liberals are pro-abolition, they often still hold some hypocrisy if they believe in the existing prison and police system. Also be sure to watch Gem’s videos on self-congratulatory allyship and distinguishing between the terms “Black” and “POC.

2. Joyola Dokun, @joyoladokun

@joyoladokunwelcome to my america, y’all. ##fyp ##blackmusic ##dance♬ original sound – joyoladokun

Joyola Dokun uses her vocal talents to lyricize about oppression, white guilt, and the Black experience in America. More of her videos to watch include signature songs dedicated to the Black community.

3. Naomi Brook, @naolmiibrookk

@naomiibrookk##foryoupage ##foryou ##blackisbeautiful♬ original sound – naomiibrookk

Naomi Brook is all about celebrating and taking pride in Black culture. She’s also about calling out negative comments directed at her that are laced with racism—and the internet is better off for it.

4. Jailyn, @jailynfeliz

@jailynisfelizLETS GROW TOGETHER🌱##TikTokArtists##FamilyDinner##gardeningtips##tiktokgarden##defundthepolice##blacklivesmatter##avatar##funny##learn##fyp##foryou##blacktiktok♬ The Avatar’s love (Original Soundtrack) from “The Last Airbender” – Eliott Tordo

Jailyn’s lightning-fast TikTok videos cram a ton of useful, timely information about the Black Lives Matter movement into short (often funny) videos. The one above, for example, uses an extended garden metaphor to explain what it means to defund the police. Watch her four-part TikTok videos series about what to do instead of calling the cops.

5. Pastrami On Rai, @pastramionrai

@pastramionraiReply to @parkerlund_1♬ original sound – pastramionrai

User Pastrami On Rai has actively called out TikTok’s shadowbanning of Black voices in late May—the practice of blocking a user’s content on social media without the user readily knowing—and she’s only continued to call out both macro and microaggressions on TikTok and beyond. Check out her videos about Juneteenth and police use of LRADs weapons.

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