Social media influencers have been an active part of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. With their huge reach, there are positive sides to their participation.
However, a section of these influencers has faced heavy backlash over the nature of their participation. This is largely with respect to them using the protests for aesthetic purposes. Critics argue that this has led to the devaluation of the cause.
As per them, a person should not become more important than the thing they’re campaigning for. This is what happens when you pose for a picture with the protestors but your real help amounts to zero. There’s been heavy backlash towards influencers accused of this behavior.
WHY ARE SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS FACING BACKLASH?
Kris Schatzel is a YouTuber and influencer living in Los Angeles in the USA. A picture of hers in a gown posting with the protestors had attracted ire.
“I can’t wrap my head around this kind of backlash,” the 23-year-old said, adding that she went to film a video for her South American followers. “I went to the protest because I wanted to take an informative and symbolic picture to support the cause.”
Emily Hund, a research affiliate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center on Digital Culture and Society said –
“Even as recently as the 2016 election there was backlash to influencers getting too political.”
Hund added –
“Now the tides have completely turned and there is a strong expectation that they speak up and reflect on their own privilege and encourage their followers to do the same.”
“Some people have co-opted the BLM movement in order to get content, and the problem with that and why it enraged people so much is that it is the single most egregious act of cultural appropriation you can imagine,” said George Resch.
Resch, who runs Influencers in the Wild, the account that has been tracking influencers posing among protesters, added –
“Repurposing your presence there for content strikes me as one of the most shallow things you can do.”
The anger of the protestors can be understood. Social media influencers need to do a lot more than just pose for more views. It requires continued commitment and dedication to the cause for justice which people are fighting so hard for in the USA as well as in other parts of the world with social unrest.