This year’s global lockdown instigated by Covid-19 has forced us all to actively reconsider what it means to be stable, safe, and even black. The murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as the delayed arrest of those responsible for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery reconfirmed for black people across the globe that racism, discrimination and inequality still finds its way to our everyday. Regardless of how bleak a pandemic is, racism is indeed the pandemic that plagues black people at all stages of our lives. Despite its digital beginnings, the Black Lives Matter movement’s online presence has previously been relegated to majority black spaces. George, Breonna and Ahmaud became the unfortunate catalysts for the biggest online and offline flashpoint in civil rights history so far.
We all watched with baited breath as ‘black’ became decidedly ‘in’, and within this zeitgeist, so began the scramble for solidarity amongst non-black people and brands. Blackout Tuesday saw an onslaught of people, brands and celebrities eagerly stepping up to the plate to add to the now 28.2 million black squares, across Instagram. As our feeds began to fill up, backlash for brands who had previously been silent or actively participated in the subjugation of black people also began to rear its head.