This article examines humor as it intersects with race and gender in digital media. It takes up the idea of laughter to explore how Black expressive culture emerges online, both individually and collectively, in the contemporary moment, arguing that web-based objects such as blogs and podcasts as well as tweets, hashtags, and memes that exist and circulate on social media produce racialized and gendered humor predicated on ridicule. Such ridicule is tied to a genealogy of Black feminist and Black queer enactments of “sass” and “shade” as affective strategies of social scrutiny. By detailing the humor associated with the popular viral personalities Luvvie Ajayi and Crissle West as well as the social networking platform Twitter, this article begins the work of archiving Black women's daily comedic performances on the Internet.
#LaughingWhileBlack: Gender and the Comedy of Social Media Blackness
Brandy Monk-Payton is a 2016–17 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in film and media studies through the Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth College. She obtained her PhD in modern culture and media at Brown University, where she was a Ford Foundation dissertation fellow and a graduate fellow at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America. Her research interests include the history and theory of African American media representation, celebrity, television studies, and Black cultural studies. In fall 2017 she will begin a position as an assistant professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University.
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Brandy Monk-Payton; #LaughingWhileBlack: Gender and the Comedy of Social Media Blackness. Feminist Media Histories 1 April 2017; 3 (2): 15–35. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2017.3.2.15
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