#BlackOutDay beautifies social media

#BlackOutDay goes beyond recognition of race. It is a recognition of a kind of beauty beyond the accepted standard.

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Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and beyond exploded Friday with images of beautiful faces. The first ever #BlackOutDay featured millions of black selfies of all shades, sizes and genders taking over social media to, as creator T’von explains, “celebrate the beauty of Blackness.”

After tiring of only seeing the “European standard of beauty” on his timelines, T’von decided he needed to see more black beauty beyond that of Beyonce, Lupita N’yongo and other celebrities. Thus #BlackOutDay was created: a 24-hour period in which Tumblr users (initially) only posted and reblogged pictures, GIFs, videos, selfies, etc. of black people.

“Black History Month is always excellent,” said T’von (Tumblr user expect-the-greatest), “but one month isn’t enough to celebrate our heritage and our beauty. We need a unified agreeance that ALL black people are beautiful and worthy of praise and admiration, and Blackout day is a step towards that (sic).”

There is something cathartic and inspiring about the simple act of seeing people who look like you, giving face and happily preening in front of a camera phone.”

— Ashley Reese

The power of the movement was overwhelming. #BlackOutDay quickly became a top trend on social media platforms, and selfies of gorgeous black faces filled screens and timelines.
But why would we need Blackout Day in a post-racial world?

Exactly. We wouldn’t.

Today, a Google image search for “beautiful women,” “beautiful man” or “beautiful person” brings up a page of white faces. Proving, as though it was necessary to do so, that a #WhiteOutDay would be a vile way of forcing beauty standards down the Other’s throat.

People of non-European origin sit back and watch as white people see themselves validated regularly every day, and the white people never even notice.

#BlackOutDay goes beyond recognition of race. It is a recognition of a kind of beauty beyond the accepted standard.

“However superficial it might seem to dedicate a hashtag to selfies,” said The Gloss writer Ashley Reese in her #BlackOutDay post, “there is something cathartic and inspiring about the simple act of seeing people who look like you, giving face and happily preening in front of a camera phone.”

If nothing else, #BlackOutDay should make us recognize the kind of images we consume regularly and how severely lacking they are in diversity.

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