Bruno Mars, the Internet & the Dangerous Act of “Thinking”
It’s a dangerous time we’ve come to when people would prefer entertainment over education.
This weekend, my mentions were blown into smithereens after I offered the following advice:
As you know, to every effect there’s a cause, which came after a 2:09 clip from my most beloved internet shows, the Grapevine, went viral and had Bruno Mars trending for almost two days.
You may be wondering, “Goodness, who is that angry Black girl going off on our precious Bruno?” and I’ll be happy to fill you in. Her name is Seren Aishietmasu and she’s a YouTuber, social critic, and - as you could probably tell from the clip - Unapologetically Pro-Black AF. Similar to the Grapevine, I’ve been following Seren’s YouTube channel for a couple of years now, so what the world was introduced to in 2 minutes, I’ve learned to love and appreciate over the course of a few years. And sure, it may not have been the most cordial of introductions.
Still, Seren and the creator of the Grapevine, Ashley Akunna, are just two examples of Black women who are using their platforms to share views on issues surrounding the Black millennial experience and people can't stand it.
Now, back to my tweet.
I love having “viral tweets.” Not for the clout - I couldn’t care less about that - but because it breaks my bubble; my social bubble.
When you first created your social media accounts, you probably started out by following people in your close circles: friends, family, and classmates.
Then as you grew, you began to incorporate people into our social feeds who shared the same views as you, who were apart of the same industries and/or belonged to the same racial/cultural groups as you. Over time, we began to craft our own alternate reality right from our smartphone; only letting in and circulating the thoughts of the people who think, look, and sound like us.
After the 2016 Election, I learned just how dangerous this can be. How harmful it can be to erase whole groups of people from your self-crafted worlds as if they simply don’t exist; only to look up in your mentions, on the train, or in the White House to see that they should have NEVER been ignored.
With all that said, I welcome the trolls. They break down my social constructs and shake me awake when I fall asleep at the wheel of political, cultural, and well, social issues.
Among the pool of racist, gaslighting, and tone-policing comments I received from this tweet (which to reiterate, was just to ask folks to do their research before exploding in outrage) was one by this faceless human below:
That amazed me... I was quite literally dumbstruck.
The danger in this tweet was his complete dismissal of further insight, perspectives, or angles to take into consideration. How did he know the video was garbage without watching it? Did he possess some type of telepathic gift that allowed him to sense the garbage frequencies of viral content?
I think on a larger scale, this is the problem with social media. No one thinks for themselves anymore because it’s much easier to take on the thoughts of others to – I assume – conserve one’s own brain power for another cause.
From the perspective of the 100+ comments in my mentions, many folks felt the individuals on the panel were, “too woke to enjoy music,” others shared how they would continue to support and listen to Bruno Mars regardless of what privileges he reaps from his racial ambiguity. And to that my friends, is heartbreaking.
No one is denying the talent of Bruno Mars, in fact, I’m actually tired of this being the disclaimer for everyone who doesn’t stan for him. I would even go as far as to say, that it’s a talent to be able to navigate the seas of music genres in a chameleons-like fashion since well, “no one really knows what you are.”
Bruno Mars is a star, no doubt, but since when did it become a crime to question the systems in place that assist in one’s climb to superstardom.
As Seren so eloquently put it, “Black people prefer their Black art from non-Black bodies. And Bruno Mars is stepping up and saying ‘I’ll give it to you.’” And you can argue, light your Tiki torches, and shout from your keyboards all you want but this is something everyone’s too afraid to consider.
Not to mention that there are so many living manifestations of this, it’d be unwise to view this is just some made-up Hotep conspiracy theory. I’m learning that this is rooted in internalized self-hate that has been conditioned in us going back farther then your great-great-grandmama could spit.
Here are just a few examples, without even trying:
The internet came together as a collective to attack and harass an outspoken Black woman, attempting to silence and succeeding in getting her Twitter account suspended. Yes, her delivery was brass, but in my eyes her only crime was vocalizing her thoughts and using her brain.
It’s not even about Bruno Mars. It’s about not becoming NUMB. It’s about not becoming a ZOMBIE. It’s about challenging the systems that will promote a Bruno Mars or an Adele type over Jasmine Sullivan, Anderson. Paak, SZA, SYD, Jacquees, Daniel Caesar, Dej Loaf, Trey Songz, Kilo Kish, Mack Wilds, Mya, Kehlani, Kelela, Tinashe, HER, Brent Faiyaz, Ty $ign, Jerimiah, 24 Hours, Nao, Solange... I think you get the point.
I'm not asking you to agree, I'm asking you to: READ for yourself, THINK for yourself, and RESEARCH for yourself.
As Lakeith Stanfield once tweeted:
Before you go: share your thoughts on today’s topic in the comments below. Did you think for yourself today?