Why #BlackOutDay Mattered So Much

by Zoe Ferguson

In the latest clever use of social media to mobilize worldwide attention, a social media campaign called #BlackOutDay was launched Friday to celebrate black people across the world, with thousands of people posting gorgeous photos of themselves. Though the campaign reached across Twitter, Tumblr, Vine, Instagram, and Facebook, the vast majority of posts have been on Twitter and Tumblr. According to Twitter, over 160,000 tweets have mentioned #BlackOutDay across Friday.

T'von, also known as Tumblr user expect-the-greatest, is the co-creator of the online event. He said the event is intended to showcase black beauty in all its forms:

I got inspired to propose Blackout day after thinking "Damn, I’m not seeing enough Black people on my dash." Of course I see a constant amount of Black celebrities but what about the regular people? Where is their shine? When I proposed it, I thought people would think it was a good idea, but not actually go through with implementing it. Luckily people wanted to get behind the idea, and @recklessthottie created the #Blackout tag.

T'von adds that #BlackOutDay is intended to serve as an extension of Black History Month, which ended along with the short month of February.

Celebrating the beauty of Blackness is of the UTMOST importance. I’m really sick and tired of seeing the "European standard of beauty" prevail. It’s past time for the beauty of Black people to be showcased. I love all people of color, but this here is for us. Black History Month is always excellent, but one month isn’t enough to celebrate our heritage and our beauty. No matter what your skin tone is, you’re beautiful.

According to the Tumblr blog "What Whites Will Never Know," the hashtag #BlackOutDay is intended to combat traditional Eurocentric standards of beauty. Several Twitter users cited the fact that the overwhelming majority of images that result from a Google search for "beautiful women" or related terms are pictures of white people.

In addition to the hashtag #BlackOutDay, many Twitter users tagged their posts with #blackout, #MyBlackIsBeautiful, and #BlackExcellence. Blackout trended on Tumblr.

Many posts focused on beauty...

...while others alluded to deeper meanings of the event. Many Tweets mentioned self-acceptance.

Several users talked about the melanin in their skin, reinforcing the fact that skin color is only a difference of how much melanin happens to tint your body.

In creating the social media campaign, T'von envisioned making #BlackOutDay a monthly event, on the first Friday of every month.

Images: Tumblr/whatwhiteswillneverknow (1), Tumblr/staff (1)