From Jena to Tahrir: Online Activism in the Age of Social Media and Public Intellectuals

This weekend, I had the great honor of being invited to present at “Black Thought 2.0: New Media and the Future of Black Studies” at Duke University, hosted by the African and African American Studies Department, in the John Hope Franklin Center and curated by the inestimable Dr. Mark Anthony Neal (@NewBlackMan).

Deep, right?

Well, it got even deeper because the stellar array of panelists Dr. Neal curated was simply fabulous and an embarrassment of riches.

Prior to the conference, Dr. Neal and I (the Dr. Kimberly C. Ellis side) did an interview on NPR for “The State of Things,” discussing the State of Black Studies and what to expect from Black Thought 2.0. You can listen here while you visit Dr. Neal’s site.

I am still processing Black Thought 2.0 but, for now, here are the full array and collection of tweets from the afternoon panels, which included mine on From Jena to Tahrir: Online Activism in the Age of Social Media and then The Twitterati: Public Intellectuals in the Age of Social Media. The News Observer immediately published an article after our panel entitled, “Political Power of Social Media Extolled at Duke.”

The night before, myself, Moyaz B from Crunk Feminists Collective and Alexis Pauline devised the lovely scheme of singing a freedom song before our panel. We decided to sing Sweet Honey in the Rock’s (@SHoney73) “Ella’s Song,” (a song Bernice Johnson Reagan wrote in tribute to Ella Baker) which maintains:

We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest
We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest Until It Comes

Until the killing of Black men and Black mother’s sons
Is as important as the killing of White men and White mother’s sons

We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest
We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest Until It Comes

It was beautiful. Take a gander!

Along with @Moyazb and @AlexisPauline, I shared the panel with my Pittsburgh homeslizzle, @Jasiri_x and Dr. (@Salamishah) Tillet via Skype and it was moderated by former Duke Univ. grad and now Univ. of Missouri Assistant Professor, Treva Lindsey @DivaFeminist.

I’m @DrGoddess and I spoke about my relationship with social media and activism, starting from my protests at St. Paul’s Cathedral High School over Black History Month, to the All Eyes on Tulsa Campaign, to the Black Radical Congress, to the Raise Your Hand! No Casino on the Hill Campaign, to my engagement with popular culture from touring Dr. Goddess!: A One Woman Show to the casino battle, which led to Dr. Goddess Goes to Jail, a spoken word, musical comedy (unfortunately) based on a true story to my open letters to Chris Rock, Wendy Williams and the crowd favorite post on Antoine Dodson. Here’s the record of tweets (below) that you can read. Click here if you can’t see the tweets. You can watch it below or here at DukeLive on Ustream.

Thank you Dr. Mark Anthony Neal (@NewBlackMan), @JHFCenter, @DukeAAAS, @DukeBlkThought, Stacy-Nicole Robinson, Katherine and Laura for all of your hard work!

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