Growing up as a Black girl who listened to alternative rock music and attended Chinese culture club faithfully, lunch time was always an interesting experience for me. I never had a reserved spot at a certain lunch table and rarely could I ever get a spot at the "cool Black kid" table. While I was finally known as a somewhat popular and acceptable person by the time I graduated, it was only after years of either being bullied or being ignored. Now, as a member of the interwebs, I feel like I am experiencing a lot of the latter when it comes to being represented for my interests.
I'll say it if no one else will: Black Twitter does NOT represent my interests. Like at all.
I can't tell you how many times that I've scrolled down the #BlackTwitter feed searching for myself only to be greeted with pettiness and anger. In my mind, this is the ultimate paradox. These themes of being petty and angry are non-progressive in the Black community, yet they have become topics for click-bait on Black-owned media outlets and blogs alike. This "we can say it but you can't" mentality when it comes to topics to the Black community isn't helping anything, but the analytical stats of the media outlets facilitating these behaviors.
What is a quirky, Black person suppose to think when they go to a hashtag or popular media outlet that caters to Black millennials and their interests are barely acknowledged?
These sites that are claiming to speak on behalf of today's Black generation are ignoring the smart kids sitting in the front of the class and are only listening to the loud kids making beats on their desks in the back of the room.
If I want to see content that caters to me as a millennial, I have to go to sites like Black Girl Nerds, Pretty Brown & Nerdy, Travel Noire or create the content myself here at Quirky, Brown Love. Every now and again, I'll see a post on popular black-targeted media outlets that acknowledges that quirky, Black people and "blerds" at least exist, but rarely do I see regularly available posts about topics that Black people like outside of the Black Lives Matter movement, petty celebrity gossip, or articles victimizing instead of uplifting the Black experience.
As a Black millennial, I feel that media outlets are going above and beyond to affirm the fact that I am Black, but what about the fact that I am a millennial? A creative? An entrepreneur? I can be all of these, no Black adjective required.
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I want to see transparent articles about what it means to be a millennial, not just articles that are focused on the latest trends and buzz words. If you want to speak on my behalf, tell the stories of multi-passionate people who are taking the leap of faith and taking a course at Google University to pursue dreams that didn't exist to their parents. Or tell the stories of people who are feeling the pressures of this new millennial entrepreneur surge and still have no idea what they want to do in life. Don't just tell me to support Black business, but also make sure that I am aware of the innovative non-Black corporations that could benefit from diversity.
Encourage innovation within the incoming entrepreneurial class of Black millennials, beyond t-shirts and coffee cups with logos on them.
We as Black people are still in the fight for receiving proper representation, but what do we want to be represented as? I don't want my future employers, employees, business partners or even friends to think of me as 40% Black Twitter, 30% Black Lives Matter, 20% pettiness and 9% Beyonce's latest album with only a few sprinkles of worldly intelligence.
To the media outlets that speak on behalf of Black millennials, as you fight for our representation, don't forget to fight for all of us - not just those that are currently boosting your analytical reports. Lead by example, in true millennial style, and take a humble risk.
Special thanks to Binary Beauty and The Creative Gentleman for their contributing remarks to facilitate the making of this article.
Photography: Tamarcus Brown and William Stitt