Black Lives Matter L.A. co-founder and ‘Pose’ star lead #ShareTheMicNow campaign
“Pose” star Angelica Ross, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles co-Founder Melina Abdullah and acting president of Planned Parenthood Alexis McGill Johnson are just a few of the Black women activists who have begun taking over white celebrities’ social media to talk about race in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.
As part of Wednesday’s #ShareTheMicNow campaign, athletes, actresses, politicians, writers and public speakers have been handing over their Instagram accounts to women of color to amplify Black voices. Among the high-profile participants are Hillary Clinton, Julia Roberts, Opal Tometi, Elaine Welteroth, Gwyneth Paltrow and Yvette Noel-Schure, among many others.
Ross posted a video on Hilary Swank’s Instagram page, introducing herself to the actress’ 1 million followers.
“I want to thank you, Hilary Swank, for passing the mic to me — for sharing your platform — so that we can have a very important intersectional conversation about race relations in America,” Ross said. “Some of you may know me from my role as Candy Ferocity on the FX series ‘Pose’ ... But today I am coming to you as a human rights activist, as a Black woman first — as a Black trans woman.”
Ross also called out Instagram viewers who might have stopped watching her video when she brought up race.
“What a privilege to tune out when we talk about race,” she said. “But for those who don’t want to tune out — for those who want to continue to ask themselves, ‘What can we do?’ — let’s get into this conversation.”
Comedian Chelsea Handler handed her account over to Abdullah, who covered multiple topics, including defunding the police and “suing LAPD for shooting protesters with rubber bullets and beating us with batons.”
“A lot of things are moving, and so I’m grateful to be on Chelsea’s page and hopefully activate all 4 million of y’all around these questions of justice,” Abdullah said.
McGill Johnson took over Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Instagram to make connections between racial justice and reproductive rights, taking the conversation beyond police brutality.
“The over-policing of black bodies extends far beyond the actions of individual police officers,” she said. “It’s in our workplaces, it’s in our schools, our public institutions, and yes, it is in our healthcare system.
“If Black people do not have the right to bodily autonomy, to live their daily lives, or protest the violence against their lives without the fear of murder or violence, we can never achieve justice, let alone reproductive freedom.”
Brittney Cooper took the reins of the Instagram account for “Eat Pray Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert, outlining important “principles of reflection,” one of which addressed the motives behind the campaign.
“White women and Black women don’t experience womanhood the same,” Cooper wrote. “That’s why we can’t all just unite *as women*. Ask Amy Cooper (not my cousin btw) or Christian Cooper (also not my cousin lol) about the foolery white women sometimes do. Better yet, if you tune in and really listen to white women, the stories we could tell would make you ashamed. But your job today is to commit to not being the kind of white woman that drives Black women to drink, forces us to quit their jobs, or makes us want to fight you.”
Austin Channing Brown, activist and author of “I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness,” took over social scientist and author Brené Brown’s Instagram platform, providing links to some resources, including a podcast conversation with Brené Brown .
“As someone who talks about antiracism for a living, there is something really special that happens when I’m able to talk with someone who is also doing their own work,” Austin Channing Brown wrote. “In this conversation you can hear the joy and the intensity, the desire to be collaborators of naming truth, and digging to the roots. This kind of intimacy, humanity is what’s possible when we all take our antiracism work seriously.”
Here’s a sampling of collaborations between the 50 pairs of women who are sharing the mic for more than 300 million combined followers. For a more comprehensive list, search for the #SharetheMicNow hashtag on Instagram.
Times staff writer Christi Carras contributed to this report.
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