With the lack of diversity in fashion becoming a hot topic in recent seasons, the whitewashed standard of beauty dictated by the powers that be is becoming harder to sweep under the rug and ignore. One grassroots movement is here to bring awareness to the issue using the power of community and social media. Having celebrated its second anniversary earlier this March, The Blackout aims to celebrate black history in the making with #blackoutday.
Originally started as a Tumblr page called The Blackout, created for the black Tumblr community by T’von, and Marissa Rei, the concept behind #blackoutday was, and remains, a simple one: to like and reblog selfies of one another, filling user dashboards with encouragement. Intended to create a supportive environment of a growing group of peers, the online trend hopes to encourage anyone identifying as black to celebrate their beauty, and encourage others to do the same.
With a sea of white faces viewed as the ultimate ideal of beauty, people of color are left with an incredibly limited pool from which to identify with, or pull encouragement from, in the mainstream media. The recent incident surrounding the verbally abusive and straight-up racist harassment of model Aamito Lagum, for her work with MAC, is a prime example of why a movement such as this is so important.
As simply stated on the movement’s Tumblr page, The Blackout was inspired by “The lack of representation and celebration of everyday black people in mainstream spaces such as movies and television, and the need to create a positive space in which black people could feel welcomed and beautiful.” With a self-sustained community in which to showcase talents, possibly making professional connections with fellow black artists, The Blackout works to create an opportunity for those involved that may not otherwise be available for them.
The movement is as necessary as it is powerful, as improving the visibility of black faces in fashion is exactly what models of color need, in order to be offered the same opportunities as their white peers. Going beyond the needs of working models and designers, bringing black faces into the mainstream media encourages everyone to question the typical conventions of beauty, and can inspire young persons of color to pursue their dreams as well, whatever they may be.
The Blackout is here to remind aspiring black artists everywhere that big changes can be made, even if just regarding the positive self-image of one person, and together, a community is being created to make that happen.
What began as a small community has exploded into a social media revolution. Having grown in support and vision since last year, with over 130,000 tweets generated on Twitter following their most recent date of March 6, 2016. With long term goals that reach beyond the hashtag, the movement hopes to eventually become structured as a nonprofit organization, featuring black arts and businesses, in addition to organizing volunteer work within black communities.
#bareface // When I look at this picture I see happiness. One of the biggest elements to being happy is feeling content. For once in my life I feel content with who I am and what I've been blessed with. I look at myself in the mirror in awe and excitement because my skin will forever be glowing and poppin and my braids will continue to be on fleek. Happy #blackoutday 👸🏿👑🇸🇸
The hashtag #blackoutday, #blackout, or #theblackout can be used any day, however, specific “break the internet” dates have been scheduled, the next being June 6, 2016, with additional dates spaced out seasonally. To learn more about the movement, and upcoming dates and events, you can find information on Tumblr at http://tumblr.theblackout.org/.