Accepted Paper:

Black Lives, Brilliance and Grassroots Fundraising  
Poppy Bennett (University of Sussex)

Paper short abstract:

I explore how visual representations of Black brilliance and key moments of protest have been used creatively for grassroots fundraising on platforms such as Youtube and Instagram by Black Lives Matter members, who are not ordinarily affluent, and how this can subvert conventional power relations.

Paper long abstract:

Black Lives Matter is a very visually orientated movement, and its fundraising is no different. Lino prints of Bristol's Colston statue being pulled over were advertised on Instagram stories for a couple of pounds, and the earnings donated to Black Lives Matter. By taking advantage of YouTube's advert revenue system, many supporters of the movement uploaded videos designed to be shared and played repeatedly, including, or rather especially, the adverts, in order to earn money which was then donated to foundations and campaigns related to Black Lives Matter. The content of the videos varies widely, but the most popular one (with over ten million views at the time of writing) is 'an art exposition'; a compilation of Black art such as poetry and music, all with the names of the artists and links to their websites and social media. This is a conversion of various themes of the movement- celebrating Black brilliance, directing people (and their spending) to Black creators, and an original, grassroots approach to campaigning. Celebrating Black brilliance subverts dominant, often negative, depictions of Black people and culture in audio-visual media. Anticapitalist or not, encouraging people to spend their money at Black owned businesses and directing fiscal resources towards Black people is an important way to grow Black power. Finally, such fundraising strategies make sense in a world where racism is intrinsically linked to capitalism, and where many supporters do not have much (if any) disposable income.

Panel P16b
Global Black Lives Matter: representations of resistance, memory and politics
  Session 1