So I recently watched a YouTube video by the The Gabbie Show, a Viner and YouTuber who hasn’t always been the most culturally sensitive:
She posted a video about how she and other white people must check their white privilege:
She has called herself out on “not being the most woke person,” and she also mentioned that she was primarily scared to do this video because she didn’t want to come across as jumping on a bandwagon.
In regards to the fact that this is the only time she’s spoken about it so far, and she hasn’t done anything to take more steps in checking her privilege by deleting or at least acknowledging the insensitive content she has created in the past, I don’t know whether or not she’s trying to do both, jump on the bandwagon as well as checking her privilege, or just jumping on the bandwagon. It doesn’t help that she has made many so many clickbait worthy videos, and continues to do so.
Why is being “woke,” or being socially conscious, particularly about race related issues, and intersectional racial issues, trending so heavily right now? Why does it even come across as trending to the point of some people treating wokeness like a club? Being conscious should not be treated like a club to join, it should be a given.
People find the show Broad City entertaining for chronicling the lives of two “woke Jewish girls.” Some have even mistaken one of the Jewish women as mixed race for not only her appearance, but for “how woke she is.” That’s, actually, not cool.
I follow YouTube content creator Akilah Hughes on Twitter, and it made me sad when she said that Ilana, the character mistaken as mixed race, was the closest thing she has seen to a twenty-something black woman scripted on TV:
@AkilahObviously Ilana from abroad City is the closest thing to a 20-something black girl scripted on TV
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) March 7, 2016
So is being woke only trendy when a white person is expressing “forward thinking”? Oh yeah, but not all the time.
Beyoncé was once the pretty girl who catered to the desires of men in her music and content. Then she released more feminist-centered content, and is praised as a black feminist icon.
Literally a week before her video for her song “Formation” was released back in February for the Super Bowl, a song catered to black culture and black women in our culture, she appropriated Indian culture by portraying an Indian starlet in Coldplay’s “Hymn to the Weekend” music video.
With all of that buzz, was she catering to what would have people talk about her the most, or was she only growing in her knowledge of wokeness?
Then, we have Beyoncé’s Lemonade, the visual music video album that created a safe space for black women, especially for the mothers of young men killed by the police, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Trayvon Martin. Yes, the music and video was stunning, it represented to beauty and diversity of black culture, the poetry was magnificent, and I loved it!
So is it because of time progressing in the way it needs to for why being woke is trending?
The counterculture movement, or in layman’s terms, during the time of hippies, was not only prominent for its music and clothes, but for its consciousness about the feminist movement, the civil rights movement, environmentalism, the gay rights movement, the immigrant movement, and more.
It is not a bad thing that social awareness is increasing in our media. The Tempest came at just the right time, if you couldn’t tell. However, it is a problem when people are using that trend to their personal advantage rather than use it for the actual increasing of positive change. For example, many people have debated on where shows such as Orange is the New Black or MTV’s new forms of content on TV and on the Internet lies on that spectrum.
I just have to ask, will the spirit of wokeness continue to get stronger, or is this just temporary?