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Social Studies: The New Negro Spiritual

Illustration for article titled Social Studies: The New Negro Spiritual
Social StudiesThe Root's Social Studies is a daily, curated, one-stop shop for all the funny, relevant and important content that should be trending on social media.

As we begin to flesh out this social studies feature, we heard through the grapevine (not The Grapevine) that many of you were wondering what the hell we were trying to do with this series. Is it just a listicle meant for clicks? Is it a list of memes?


Nah, it’s black history.

Throughout the history of this country, black people have taken the tools that they were handed and built new forms of communication. We flipped Victorian-era Christian hymns into negro spirituals that contained secret messages to freedom. We took the orchestral instruments they used for classical music and and created jazz. We took spray paint and turntables and made it into hip-hop.


And then came the internet.

After Al Gore invented the internet, my nigga Tom from MySpace (who remains one of my top eight homies) created social media. The black people found out about it and the rest was history. Technically, Blackplanet was the first Black Twitter. And one day, you’re gonna find out who actually invented Twitter and say: “I knew that shit.”

Like many of you, the staff at The Root receives tweets, links and social media posts from friends, Hoteps, aunts and coworkers all day every day. Sometimes it’s a link to a long read that was interesting. Other times, it’s a funny meme that will brighten your day. Other times, it’s a news story from your mother about a story that has been around since 1997.

Your white coworkers wouldn’t get the joke or understand why the article was so white. But you would. Because you’re black.


That’s Social Studies.

For instance, I find it hilarious that white people have absolutely no idea what this tweet is about:


Meanwhile, black people are like:


Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas supposedly hit on a $300,000 ticket after a random man at a gas station gave him the numbers to play. Arenas says he returned to the station the next day to share the winnings with the man.


Here’s my question:


Has anyone forgotten that Gilbert Arenas shit in his teammate’s shoes?

Never forget.

Here’s what too much time on white Twitter will do to you:


And here is our Karen clip of the day:


What is the opposite of a Karen?

Perhaps is it this:

You know Amy Klobuchar went full Karen when she saw this. I’m sure she asked to speak to Joe Biden’s campaign manager.


Whenever anyone over the age of 50 begins to trend on Black Twitter, I am afraid to click on the link. When I saw Tom Joyner trending this morning, I began to weep because I assume we had lost one of the greatest entertainers of of my generation (the generation that listened to music on the radio).


Luckily, I was wrong:


I suspect that there is a collective consciousness among black people because, as I was working around the house yesterday, I swear the theme song from Tom Joyner’s pseudo-soap opera “It’s Your World” was playing in my head.

And now you have to hear it too.

Also, is Tom Joyner in the Top 5 most blackfamous people of all time?

Here’s my list:


This video is the black internet, distilled into 20 seconds.


First of all, why is she doing this with a drumstick? Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like legs are the Ben Carson of chicken parts. It’s dark meat, but not really. Curiously, my prejudice against chicken legs does not extend to the leg quarter. Leg quarters are damn near too black.

I know leg quarters are technically half drumstick. But for me, leg quarters are New Edition and the drumstick is Ralph Tresvant. I don’t mind it by itself, but I’m not necessarily checking for it.


And everyone knows the thigh is Bobby Brown.

Sometimes, Black Twitter will make you sad.

Like this:


So, to cheer you up, here’s one of the forgotten sketches from the funniest show of all time:

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.

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I appreciate this social media roundup because I don’t wanna get sucked completely into the vortex of social media. Love the video to Joe Biden, especially for its invoking remembrance of his doing-dirty of Anita Hill. But if we’re admonishing Joe for ‘ain’t no half-stepping’, go on and be really transformational!I need more than just a VP & Supreme Court Justice. Give us SEVERAL top positions and we’ll be inclusive of other qualified minorities making the government LOOK like the rest of the country!