BRB Gone Viral, Pop Culture

Damn Ellen, why do you keep ignoring Internet’s black celebrities?

Ellen, if you are running out of things to do with your cash, I have a few student loans with your name on them.

damndaniel.w529.h5219 Ellen is well-known for her recognition of the internet’s favorite 15-minute celebrities. Well. The white ones, at least.

Everyone remembers #TheDress, #AlexFromTarget, and most recently, #DamnDaniel, hashtags that have social media buzzing around the clock, creating new memes and sharing jokes and ideas. Alex, a basic white cashier at Target, received a brand new iPad so he could tweet to his loyal following. Grace, the woman who put a picture of her dress on the internet, received a honeymoon trip and $10,000 from Ellen.  “Damn, Daniel” is simply a collection of short videos in which one white boy compliments another white boy in a funny voice. That’s it.

And those two white boys have received a lifetime supply of Vans, and the publicity and recognition that comes from being on Ellen’s show. What do all of these lucky internet sensations have in common?

White privilege.

Every millennial trend-setter deserves recognition for their achievements.

But where is Nicholas Fraser, the man who gave us the “Why You Always Lyin’” vine that has almost 60 million views? Where is Kayla Newman, the creator of the term “On Fleek” that has been printed on every coffee mug and t-shirt in the world for the past year? Most importantly, where is her check? Brands have been co-opting African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) for profits without compensating the creators of this original content. Hefty had a whole campaign that used nothing but AAVE that black people created and popularized enough for the phrases to be marketable. No one seems to value AAVE to actually pay for it.

[bctt tweet=”Black people have taken all forms of social media by storm.”]

Let’s be honest. Black people have taken all forms of social media by storm, from Vine to Twitter to YouTube, etc. The list is endless. There are thousands of us devoting energy into creating this entertainment for mass consumption and it’s a thankless job, comparable to the prominent black actors, musicians, and producers who are continuously denied recognition from the Oscars, the Grammys, and every other notable award show. It seems like black creators have to do twice as much work to receive the same level of acknowledgement that white people get for photographing dresses in poor lighting, working cashier jobs with a Justin Bieber haircut, or wearing the same shows multiple times. And yet the lack of effort is continuously rewarded.

The amount of original content that has been appropriated, exploited, and straight up stolen from black entertainers, creators, and artists is simply unfair. Ellen clearly loves to connect with and shine light upon social media stars, but this starts have been disproportionately white. I am concerned. At this point, it seems like all a white person has to do is exist on the internet for Ellen to throw money at them.

[bctt tweet=”No one seems to value AAVE to actually pay for it.”]

Ellen, if you are running out of things to do with your cash, I have a few student loans with your name on them.

 

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