As We Amplify Melanated Voices On Instagram, Let’s Make Sure We Do So In A Power-Sharing Way
There is a powerful movement on Instagram initiated by Alishia McCullough (IG @blackandembodied) and Jessica Wilson (IG @jessicawilson.msrd) to amplify the work of Black and Brown people who are already doing social justice work.
In their words
“A lot of folks doing social justice related work do not pay black and brown people of our labor and continue to thrive off of the system and structures built on the back of our ancestors. They continue that legacy by profiting from our voices and experiences, expanding their work and social capital using our wisdom, and then gatekeeping who has access to their services/offerings. Hold folks accountable. Ask if they are paying black and brown folks for their labor.”
- Mute white folks doing social-justice related work.
- Follow BIPOC who are speaking directly from their lived experience
- Share content created by BIPOC. Tag their works.
Things to consider as we participate in the challenge
As we start participating in the challenge, there are certain steps we can take so that we do not inadvertently tokenizing the people whose voices we want to amplify.
1. Are we just taking content without interacting with it (or the general body of work) of the content creators?
Do we at least click “like” and leave a comment on the content creator’s page or do we just take it and post it on our own page?
2. Do we take a moment to know the names of the content creators? Do we interact with them as people (if they have the bandwidth for it)?
Most individuals have their name on their profile. We can just take a minute to look at their name and humanize them in our minds. If we participate in their comments and say their name, this can be powerful! If their pages are too large or they have other things going on they may not be able to engage on a personal level, but it is important emotional labor for us to be able to do this for them.
3. Do we feature their IG account name prominently in our post or do we just tag them on it?
On Instagram, tagging a picture allows the person tagged to know their work is being acknowledged, but it doesn’t show the creator’s name unless the consumer taps on the picture to see who is tagged. By additionally typing in their names and their account in the comment section we actively support their work and give others the opportunity to click on their name and follow them.
Just a few tweaks can elevate the level of alliance and make our support be about power sharing and humanizing and not inadvertently tokenizing them.