Not a day goes by when a hashtag isn’t trending or a story hasn’t gone viral. Whether it’s social activism or a celebrity faux pas, The Grapevine section on The Root is where you come to learn about what’s trending daily on black Twitter, as well as subjects ranging from celebrity to viral news.
Over the last 12 months, The Grapevine has featured a cornucopia of stories that not only have reported viral and celebrity news but also have gone viral themselves. The stories that made up our Top 10 of the year have amassed page views as well as given people a chance to voice their opinions about the subject matter. Many of the stories highlighted issues that you probably would never have heard about in mainstream media:
In what has been dubbed “the slap heard around the world,” Jorge Pena and his 8-ball jacket went viral after he slapped a woman on a New York City subway train. Danay Howard and her friends were accosting Pena, but when he had had enough and even got hit with a shoe, he retaliated. Thankfully for Pena, after his arrest the charges against him were dropped.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but instead of beholder, we may also want to include spouse. Omari Hardwick, who currently appears in the Starz series Power, faced a bit of a backlash on Twitter after a photo of his wife appeared online.
Hardwick wasn’t quiet at all when it came to defending his wife on social media:
Social media has a way of bringing out the best and the ugly in people.
What’s the gift that keeps on giving? Apparently it’s Ray J and Kim Kardashian’s sex tape. Earlier this year, when Kanye West married Ray J’s former sex-tape partner, Brandy’s little brother offered his sex-tape profits as a wedding gift. Oh, the shade. But it would probably have been the Wests’ most expensive gift.
According to calculations, Ray J picked up $6,135.60 in January, $20,097.31 in February, $9,674.76 in March and $10,931.52 in April. That’s close to a $47,000 wedding gift. The sex tape, which was filmed in 2007 and distributed by Vivid Entertainment, has allegedly made more than $50 million. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
In the world of viral anesthesia videos, one woman’s video proved that it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; anyone can wake up upset that she’s not Nicki Minaj.
Jayci Underwood had her wisdom teeth removed and woke up a bit disoriented. Well, “a bit” might be an understatement, because Underwood apparently expected to wake up as Minaj.
“I just wanted to have her butt and her face,” she cried. “I just wanted to be Nicki Minaj when I woke up.”
Apparently Underwood doesn’t realize that for just $15,000, she could probably find a prominent plastic surgeon to make her dreams come true.
Solange Knowles and Jay Z proved earlier this year that even if you’re close to billionaires, s—t will still go down in an elevator. The infamous elevator fight catapulted the celebrity family members into the limelight after they attended the legendary Met Gala. Although Jay Z didn’t retaliate, it was a sight to see. Especially considering that Beyoncé just stood there as if it were just a regular day ending in “y.” All seems to be well in the Knowles-Carter family nowadays. After the fight, Solange took a break from social media, got engaged and then had an epic wedding in New Orleans in November.
While everyone and their mother were busy doing the ice-bucket challenge, actor Orlando Jones issued another type of challenge, which quickly went viral. Jones called it the “Bullet Bucket Challenge.”
Jones’ mission with his Bullet Bucket Challenge was to bring attention to the violence that exists in the world. In Jones’ video, he pours a bucket of shell casings, instead of ice water, over his head to represent the lives that were cut short because of violence.
As a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association, Jones said the challenge and his affiliation shouldn’t come into conflict.
“For me, I became a member [of the NRA] because I wanted to effect change in the organization. Do I share all of their ideals? No. I’m not a monolith in culture. I don’t agree with all black people on everything, either. I’m a complex person and I wanted to make that point,” Jones stated.
Although Jones was the only one to participate in his challenge, it did bring attention to gun violence.
The vicious killing of Michael Brown by then-Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson sparked outrage online and offline this summer. The incident also shed a spotlight on how black people are portrayed in the media, even if they are the victims of violence.
Although there were plenty of photos to use of Brown, some in the media opted to use a photo that people assumed showed Brown throwing up gang signs. Others actually realized that it may have been a simple peace sign. Unfortunately, this served as the motivation for the #iftheygunnedmedown hashtag.
Thousands of people on Twitter used the hashtag to highlight how they may be viewed in the media if they were ever a victim of a crime.
The sad thing is, even though the media realize what they’re doing, chances are they’re not going to change anytime soon.
In November the Church of God in Christ held its 107th Holy Convocation convention in St. Louis, and over 25,000 people attended. But it was one person who caught the world’s attention. Andrew Caldwell (and his bow tie) was the recipient of the hands of COGIC Superintendent Earl Carter. Caldwell, who was gay before attending the service and being touched by Carter, soon proclaimed that he was delivered from his gayness.
In the video, which quickly went viral, Caldwell claimed that he was no longer gay and that he “likes women, women, women.” Carter was even generous enough to throw a $100 bill in his direction. Who knows what it was for? Maybe for such a grandiose performance?
Speaking of church, the last place you’d expect to hear a verse from a Chris Brown song is during a Sunday sermon. But if you’re a member of Jamal Bryant’s church in Baltimore, it was just another ordinary Sunday at the Empowerment Temple. Bryant didn’t just evoke the gospel of Jesus Christ in his sermon—he also evoked the gospel of Chris Brown.
Bryant was discussing Pontius Pilate when he told churchgoers, “Every sister elbow another sister and say, ‘He should have listened.’ Every brother tap another brother and say, ‘I should have listened to her.’” He continued, “Old saints, y’all forgive me, but I gotta tell you. These hos ain’t loyal!”
Not only was his sermon sexist, but what’s a Sunday service without some misogyny? Bryant went on to talk about baby mamas and sanctified s—sies.
They sure don’t make church like they used to.
In July a teenage girl from Texas realized how evil people can be when her rape became the fodder for jokes after explicit photos of her went viral. The photos were taken at a party that 16-year-old Jada attended. Jada stated that she was raped at the party, and her accusers posted the photos to their Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Despite the tragedy that happened to Jada, supporters stood in solidarity with #IAmJada. Users took to Twitter to post photos of themselves holding #IAmJada signs.
But the story didn’t end there. Earlier this week, two arrests were made in Jada’s rape case, and she hopes that justice will soon prevail.
As you can see, the Top 10 posts of the year are quite diverse—from the funny to the tragic. But one thing remains prevalent throughout all of them: The effect that social media has on society is definitely interesting. If it’s not being tweeted, it’s being posted on Facebook. If it’s not being posted on Facebook, it’s a Vine or Instagram video. Social media isn’t going to die down anytime soon—especially since the world is filled with people who like to share and those who enjoy watching what’s being shared.