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Is the Future of Activism Online?

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Is the Future of Activism Online?

Paradise Gray and Jasiri X with students from One Hood’s New Media Academy

UPDATE: On Tuesday, April 17 at 7:30pm WQED premieres a special 30 minute documentary  called “Game Changers“:

Jasiri X and Paradise Gray of One Hood Media are Game Changers who are teaching young black men how to play the media game and control their own images. In this day of the Internet they don’t need anyone’s permission to blog or shoot their own videos, they control the vertical and the horizontal, and thus they realize the power that they have to change the way they are perceived in popular culture. It is a transformative moment when these students finally get in the game, they become Game Changers.”

This weekend at had the pleasure of participating in a revolutionary conference called “Black Thought 2.0: New Media and the Future of Black Studies” at Duke University. Convened and hosted by Dr. Mark Anthony Neal,  Professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Duke University and host of the weekly webcast, “Left of Black”, Black Thought 2.0 brought together some the best minds in academia with initiative entrepreneurs and activist finding success online.

My panel was titled “From Jena to Tahrir: Online Activism in the Age of Social Media and Public Intellectuals” and it featured Dr. Kimberley Ellis BKA Dr. Goddess, Moyaz B from Crunk Feminists Collective, Dr Alexis Pauline, Dr Salamishah Tillett, Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies at the Univ. of Pennsylvania and was moderated by Univ. of Missouri Assistant Professor, Treva Lindsey. We talked about how the internet has changed the landscape of not only media, but activism as well. From the Jena 6, to the Arab Spring, to Occupy, and now Trayvon social media has enabled a level of organizing and engagement that we’ve never seen before. However in all those cases, there was still a need for activists to put in work on the ground.

It’s extremely important for our communities to be equipped with the technology and access we need to not only excel in new media, but create content and a infrastructure that we own. But it’s equally important for us to come offline and engage our people face to face where they live.