Communities and Social Media

The Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter has socially and politically strengthened the Afro-American community with the use of hashtags.


The Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter has been able to socially and politically strengthen the relationships of Afro-American community in the offline world through the use of hashtags. My purpose in writing this paper is to make readers aware of the difficulties faced by some Afro-American people who suffered and are still suffering from ill-treatment and injustice due to the colour of their skin. The hashtag Black Lives Matter has opened the door for hope and better days to come as on Twitter the Afro-American community have received recognition and support. The injustice undergone by some black victims has gone viral and Twitter has raised the opinion of the public through the hashtag Black Lives Matter. Several passive and active actions have been taken in order to socially and politically reinforce the Afro-American community, be it by giving worth, value, support while reestablishing their dignity lost and making protest walks, raising up of signs and the showing up of manifestants wearing black T-shirts while singing and shouting the names of black victims. It is not normal that some human beings treat other human beings with such cruelty. It is evident that the whole world should be conscious about the respect due to humanity. 

Keywords: Black Lives Matter movement, #BlackLivesMatter, Afro-American community, Injustice, Cruelty, Twitter, Hashtag 

The transition of the offline world to the online one has given rise to the Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter. Afro-Americans have received a shed of light when the hashtag Black Lives Matter has strengthened their sense of belongingness to their community, be it socially and politically. The Black Lives Matter movement has drawn an international awareness about racial differences in treatments done by police in the United States. The movement aimed at promoting policy reforms to end police brutality while encouraging the process of liberating black communities across America (Lu, 2020). The Black Lives Matter is not only a hashtag as it implies the three black women Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza who raised an action in 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, responsible for the death, in 2012, of Trayvon Martin (Lu, 2020). With the Black Lives Matter movement, an online network has been invented on Twitter for activism where the hashtag Black Lives Matter has considerably aroused people’s opinions about racial injustice against the Afro-American community. Hashtags were used to reach thousands of people rapidly in order to politically and socially strengthen the relationships among Afro-Americans. Passive and active actions have been done to socially reinforce the Afro-American community. The Black Lives Matter hashtag has also politically empowered the black community in accordance with the police and the judicial affairs. The Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter has been able to socially and politically strengthen the relationships of Afro-American community in the offline world through the use of hashtags. 

The #BlackLivesMatter has socially strengthened the Afro-American community by the introduction of passive and active actions. 

Through passive actions, the hashtag Black Lives Matter has socially strengthened the Afro-American community. The hashtag mentioned above has raised awareness about what turmoil the Afro-American community are going through. The Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter through the use of hashtags has given worth and value to the black community in the United States who were longing for justice and recognition. The hashtag Black Lives Matter has rendered the status and standard which the Afro-American community originally deserved. Their loss of dignity has been reestablished through the support and encouragement that they have received online. A new genre of support communities has emerged giving occasions to digitally connect with people through hashtags, regardless of their physical locations, ‘‘Digital support groups or online communities, exist on the Internet in various forms and allow for individuals to connect digitally and share with others at a distance’’ (Raj, 2015). This hashtag has created an online community where the Afro-Americans feel understood and at ease to express themselves freely. When being a member of an online community, the individual’s overall quality of life increases amazingly (Raj, 2015).  It has been observed that online support groups are as smart and effective as the offline community, if not better, ‘‘online support groups can be just as impactful, if not more so, than traditional face-to-face support groups’’ (Raj, 2015). With the hashtag Black Lives Matter, the Afro-American community has felt sheltered under the same umbrella. The feeling of loneliness has been considerably decreased as through that hashtag; Afro-Americans have realised their sense of belongingness to a community. The Black Lives Matter movement has made the #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter go viral. Twitter, that is considered as a ‘third space’ where people can strengthen their bonds of relationships, can evade from their daily routine to connect, interact and share with people of their same ethnic online community. the Afro American Community is active both online and offline when racial inequalities issues are concerned. Online community is an extension to the activism found offline thus strengthening the spirit of belongingness among the dark skin people, ‘‘Concerning racial inequality discourse, online community has become particularly salient to activism and organization both on- and offline’’ (Williams, 2017). This spirit of togetherness enables the Afro-American community to gain an additional self-esteem feeling causing the relationship among themselves to solidify, thus decreasing their complex of inferiority and nourishing their adherence to a community, ‘‘The blurring of this space contributes to the colorism; the same can be said of online portrayals of blackness’’ (Williams, 2017). 

From a Black Lives Matter hashtag to a global movement, various active actions have been set forth in order to socially strengthen the Afro-American community. Among the active actions, one of the most known deed is the protest walk.  The walking protest crowd under the banner of Black Lives Matter escorted by policemen walked two miles on Dixie Highway from the former Kmart parking lot in Elsmere to the Elsmere Police Department (Fair, 2020). The protest walk aimed at denouncing the injustice and cruelty exercised by police officers when arresting Afro-American people, ‘‘The crowd walked through the 80-degree weather as protests across the U.S. continue after black people were killed by police’’ (Fair, 2020). An active action that took place during the protest walk is the hoisting up of signs by manifestants who sang and shouted their grievances and the names of the victims, ‘‘Along the route, the protesters said Floyd and Taylor’s names, ‘‘no justice, no peace, no racist police,’ along with other chants.’’ (Fair, 2020). Various victims’ names such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor echoed in the streets of America during the protest walk (Reckoning in rural South, 2020). The activists’ action of wearing black T-shirts was to denounce the ill- treatment inflicted to black Americans (Reckoning in rural South, 2020).  Another action that took place during the Black Lives Matter movement was the numerous publications on Twitter namely videos, photos and posts witnessing the situation in order to sensitise public opinions about racism. All the active actions mentioned above would not have been possible without the interaction that online communities created. With those actions, the Afro-American community together with other black people around the world have certainly felt stronger because of the support provided to them. 

The #BlackLivesMatter has politically strengthened the Afro-American community by modifying and re-adjusting the law in connection with the police force. 

The hashtag Black Lives Matter has politically strengthened the Afro-American community as a slight change has been noticed in the way justice is being observed and the role played by the police has curbed towards black people. Due to the Black Lives Matter movement, the judicial has been reviewed as the Black Lives Matter activists have turn their interests towards state legislatures thus resulting in the startup of an online community on social media platforms such as Twitter (Whack, 2018). The Black Lives Matter movement has built an online community at national level to discuss about racial injustice found in legislatures (Whack, 2018). This online community has favorably acted in the downfall of those, such as President Donald Trump’s administration, who were embracing unfair laws against the Afro-American community ‘‘Black Lives Matter activists also began to turn their attention to state legislatures, launching an online platform and building on momentum at the national level to push back against President Donald Trump’s administration, which has been unfriendly to the movement and has embraced local law enforcement’’ (Whack, 2018). Aftermath, leaders have emphasised the importance of local organizing over national leadership. The hashtag Black Lives Matter has given rise to a political action committee where a loose confederation of online groups advocating for racial justice took action. The use of hashtags in the Black Lives Matter movement is a powerful tool to attain political elites who can eventually take positions in favour of the movement; usage of hashtags gains the attention of political elites and sometimes encourages them to take positions in support of the movement (Freelon et al, 2018, as cited in Tillery, 2019). Even the past President of America, Barack Obama spoke about the Black Lives Matter movement which he qualifies as being effective in bringing attention to problems and causing changes to occur (Tillery, 2019). The hashtag Black Lives Matter has brought a considerable change concerning police behaviours bringing the Afro-American community to politically feel stronger. Some policemen have consequently focused the lens through which they see the black citizens. The Afro-American community can probably feel stronger and safer now that political actions have switched towards their welfare, for example when the implementation of body cameras on police guards who are on patrol are used (Williamson & al, 2018). Another factor that strengthens and reassures the Afro-Americans is the introduction of the law about independent special prosecutors and wider transparency concerning the police force (Williamson & al, 2018). 

The role of Twitter in the Black Lives Matter movement and how it demonstrates the power that Hashtags possesses in the strengthening of the Afro-American community. 

Twitter is a social media platform that has been widely adopted in the African American community (Tillery, 2019). This social media platform is helpful for the activist of the Black Lives Matter movement as those fighting for justice in regards to the Afro-American Community utilise Twitter to motivate people in that social movement to bring resources, to interact with political leaders or eventually to translate their motives and feelings, ‘‘BLM activists use Twitter—to mobilize resources, communicate with political elites, or simply to convey their emotional states—and the types of frames that they construct and deploy within their tweets’’ (Tillery, 2019). This platform has played a significant role in the Black Lives Matter movement as it clearly showed, with use of hashtags, the tremendous number of sensitised people gradually growing, ‘‘Twitter plays in the BLM movement have focused on tracking the rise and impact of the distinctive hashtags that activists generate to mark their tweets.’’ (Tillery, 2019). With the introduction of the hashtag Black Lives Matter on Twitter, the movement itself has gained in visibility and has become even more famous than it already was. Various orginisations which were friendly to the Black Lives Matter movement did not hesitate to mark their support and understanding by the use of hashtags; thus, resulting in the hashtag Black Lives Matter to rise and obtain an enormous number of followers, ‘‘When counted together, these six organizations have more than 350,000 followers on Twitter.’’ (Tillery, 2019). The hashtag Black Lives Matter has not only put everything under control for justice to prevail but it has also re-formed the Black identity while exploring self-reflective intersectional social critique and (self-)love, ‘‘#BlackLivesMatter discourse cultivates rigorous self-reflective intersectional social critique and (self-)love, and that rhetors use the hashtag as a tool for re-forming Black identity in order to construct the narrative of Black life and Black activism on their own terms.’’ (Severs, 2017). The function of that hashtag on Twitter can then be interpreted as showing the true and loyal reflection of oneself. The African American community, through this hashtag, must certainly understand that the Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter is a loving message which is meant to strengthen the bond between their ethnicity and themselves, ‘‘The hashtag’s operational function within Twitter arguments and its potency as a rhetorical tool, and the message it contains (‘‘remember to love yourself’’) arguments its viral capacity as a hashtag.’’ (Severs, 2017). 


After having researched about how the Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter has been able to socially and politically strengthen the relationships of Afro-American community in the offline world through the use of hashtags, one can easily come to the conclusion that the movement, mentioned above, would not have obtained such a huge impact without the social media platform, Twitter. The Afro-American community has gained back the consideration which it deserves with the launching of the hashtag Black Lives Matter on Twitter. This community has been socially strengthened through passive actions when they have been given worth, value, support and where their loss of dignity has been reestablished by the Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter. Active actions also happened in the form of protest walks, raising up of signs and the showing up of manifestants wearing black T-shirts while singing and shouting the names of the victims. The Afro-American community has been politically strengthened when the police and the judicial sector have amended their rules, laws and regulations. The black community consequently felt slightly more secure and supported by the system. There is far more to be said about the Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter and because all the aspects concerning the actions taken have not been covered in this conference paper.An area that could be further explored in order to enrich this matter is the impact that this movement can have in the education of the coming generations; to not only show them that black lives mattered at that time, but that black lives matter EVERYDAY.

Reference list: 

Fair, J. (2020, Jun 11). ‘Northern Kentucky is not immune’ Hundreds walk in Black Lives Matter protest. Cincinnati Enquirer 

Lu, T. J. (2020). When black movements matter: Effects of the black lives matter movement on local newspaper attention to black victims of lethal policing (Order No. 27829324). Available from ProQuest One Academic. (2420141780). Retrieved from 

Raj, E. X. (2015). Online communities for people who stutter: An ethnographic study of a 0RW1S34RfeSDcfkexd09rT2facebook1RW1S34RfeSDcfkexd09rT2 social networking support group (Order No. 3700668). Available from ProQuest One Academic. (1679270050). Retrieved from 

Reckoning in rural South: Black Lives Matter protests prompt small towns to face the past. (2020, Jun 28). The Leaf Chronicle

Severs, A. C. (2017). (Self-)Love Matters: A Discursive Analysis of #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter (2012-2015) (Order No. 10275670). Available from ProQuest One Academic. (1907023914). 

Tillery,Alvin B.,,Jr. (2019). What Kind of Movement is Black Lives Matter? The View from Twitter. Journal of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, 4(2), 297-323. 

Whack, E. H. (2018, Aug 12). Black Lives Matter movement shows its political strength. Philadelphia Tribune 

Williams, A. A. (2017). Theorizing black community online: Of black mind, black self, and black society (Order No. 10800952). Available from ProQuest One Academic. (2021984048). Retrieved from  

Williamson, V., Kris-Stella Trump, & Katherine, L. E. (2018). Black Lives Matter: Evidence that Police-Caused Deaths Predict Protest Activity.Perspectives on Politics, 16(2), 400-415. 

16 thoughts on “The Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter has socially and politically strengthened the Afro-American community with the use of hashtags.

  1. Hello Anne-Marie,

    Wow! What a powerful paper. I thoroughly enjoyed the positivity that emanated throughout your paper and the important role that the social media platform Twitter has played in bringing awareness to the greater public of the plight of the African-American people.
    You also stress how important Twitter has become in bringing African-Americans closer together and giving them a strong voice in the fight for respect and decency. It is a very sad fact that the cruel treatment of African-Americans has gone on for a very long time and finally it appears as though some action may be taking place.
    As you explain so succinctly in your paper Anne-Marie the #BlackLivesMatter has been a worldwide phenomenon which people have embraced and supported and stood as one to back this movement. Protest marches were organised not just in the USA but in many of the major cities around the world, all for the same cause. This goes to prove the strength and reach social media platforms like Twitter can generate and hopefully change is in the air.
    We can all treat one another a little better, no matter what the colour of our skin and begin to make the world a happier place.
    Thank you Anne-Marie for a thought provoking and extremely enlightening paper.


  2. Hello Tatyanna,

    What a great paper! It was really informative and talks about a situation that is really relevant to nowadays society. I totally agree with you that there is still too much cruelty among human beings and this just because of the color of their skin. You mentioned good arguments and managed to support them well with scholarly works. I have thus a question for you, after doing all your researches and wrote this paper on this topic, Do you think that this situation of modern racism is changing with the help of social media and communities or is it just stagnant?

    I am waiting for your kind reply.
    Good Job. well done!

  3. Hi Tatyanna,
    I really enjoy reading about your paper I came across papers which cited the #blacklivesmater in there paper but did not found one taking about is as you did. I really glad someone dig down in this subject as you did.

    As everyone with social media I know what the #BLM movement is but I get to know more about the real impact on a long term and for the Afro-American community it get and the power of hashtags.

    Good Job!

  4. Hello, I knew that Twitter had some kind of power, but it’s quite impressive to see how an Internet platform can change people’s lives and raise awareness. Thanks for pointing this out, especially in the context of such a big tragedy. Good job!

  5. Hi Tatyanna,

    I loved your take on this topic! I do agree that in light of the BLM protests, the African-American community has been showing more concern and solidarity then ever.

    After the unfortunate murder of George Floyd, it was very apparent that this community had had enough and wanted to change things, even if it meant going outside to protest in the middle of a pandemic. It is very telling on how outraged they were.

    I, too, discuss BLM in my paper as I explore the role of Social Commentary YouTube in helping online and offline activists.
    I would love to have your take on the points I made.

    1. Hi Elodie, thank you for your feedback. Unfortunately, it is sad that it took the death of George Floyd for people to stand up for this cause. I hope that this will be a wake up call for people to realise that this is only one of the many problems that the world faces, and that it won’t take another lost life for change. I will be sure to check your conference paper as well.

  6. Great reading. It is important for the world to see the struggles faced by the black community. I strongly urge you to follow up on another paper on the education of the upcoming generations. As you said at the end of your paper, Black Lives Matter EVERYDAY, and I hope that this paper will open the eyes of many to see that!

    1. Hi Raphael, thank you very much, I’m glad we share the same point of view.

    2. Hi Raphael, thank you, I’m glad we share the same point of view.

  7. Hi Anne-Marie, I really enjoyed reading and gaining insights into the Black Lives Matter movement in your paper. I agree that the movement would not have been as effective as it was without the use of Twitter and the hashtag function which allowed the Afro- American community to stay connected online as well as offline. I also like how your essay is focused on the positive impacts of the Black Lives Matter and what it means for the Afro-American community as well as the changes it has brought upon this community.

    1. Hi Saranya, thank you so much for your feedback, fortunately Twitter and the hashtag Black Lives Matter is changing and will change the lives of many.

    2. Hi Saranya, thank you so much for your feedback, fortunately the #BlackLivesMatter and Twitter itself is changing and will change the lives of many.

  8. Awesome paper Anne-Marie. I really liked how you focused on intracommunity strengthening. Personally I know that the Black Lives Matter online movement has highlighted to me the pain and struggles that uniquely impact Black lives, but this paper’s focus was on how the movement has had a positive impact among Black people, which I think is more important than the added side effect of educating and informing non-Black people like me.

    1. Hi Silas, my aim was in fact to demonstrate how that pain and those struggles have resulted in creating such strong bonds and various communities where Black people unite in fighting for this cause

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