Study: Social Justice Awareness and the Use of Black Media Representation Can Be Construed as a Form of Racism Commodification
A new study by Rachel Grant, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Journalism assistant professor, and colleagues has revealed the paradoxical nature of social justice awareness and the use of Black media representation as a form of racial commodification.
“Selling Breona: Twitter Responses to Breonna Taylor on the Covers of O, The Oprah Magazine and Vanity Fair” was published in the Journalism & Mass Communications Quarterly special issue on Social Media and the Black Lives Matter Movement.
According to the authors, “To engage with Black Lives Matter, O, The Oprah Magazine and Vanity Fair released special issues in Sept. 2020 featuring Taylor’s portrait on the covers. This study examined the Twitter response to these covers to illuminate how mass media commodify Black womanhood.”
They add, “Although media platforms have become, symbolically, more responsive to social issues, they often fail to facilitate change. The communicative networks of social movements require addressing structural discrimination instead of just drawing audiences. As magazines continue to create and profit off souvenirs of Black death, social justice messages will continue to sit uncomfortably on glossy paper.”