Social platforms outline plans for Black History Month

by | Feb 6, 2023 | News

Leading social media platforms have been spelling out how they plan to celebrate Black History Month (February 1-March 1, 2023 in the US and Canada).

TikTok has unveiled a dedicated programming line-up, including its inaugural Visionary Voices list. Explaining how this works, the platform said: “Our first-ever Visionary Voices List recognises 15 Black creators who are innovators in their fields, using TikTok to educate, entertain, and advocate for the Black community.” Participants have been selected in three categories – creators, small owned businesses, and industry disruptors. During Black History Month, TikTok will highlight work by these creators, and how they get the best out of the platform.

In addition, the shortform platform is hosting live-streamed events, featuring musicians and artists that will culminate in a 6-hour livestream. It is also hosting a #BlackTikTok in-app hub, where it will highlight stories from creators and Black-owned businesses, and a new #BlackMusic showcase. TikTok said: “The resurgence of classic R&B records on TikTok proves that great music will always live on and demonstrates how our community fuels timeless music discovery. We’re proud to be a home for our R&B icons to innovate their artistry and we’re excited to welcome R&B legend Mya.”

Snapchat, meanwhile, is marking Black History Month with new content and creative tools to make it easier for its community to join the celebration and express their creativity. On shortform platform Spotlight, the mobile-first company is awarding $40K in cash prizes for its Black History Month Spotlight Challenges. Across the month of February, Snapchatters can submit their best Snaps and enter via the Spotlight Trending page for a chance to win a share of the total prize fund on offer.

Snapchatters can also express themselves with a collection of augmented reality Lenses created by Black AR creators including Enoch, Masharzi McCann, Kathryn Hicks and more. On February 15, Snapchatters will be able to explore a new collection of Black History Month Lenses created by a group of seven Black AR creators.

In addition to Spotlight Challenges and AR Lenses, Snapchat has teamed up with the Beauty in Inclusivity Association (BIIA), which it calls “the first-ever beauty collective and champion of diversity and inclusion across the beauty industry”. BIIA is a new brand auditing and certification system that will work with corporations as a training resource to develop actionable goals and standards for business leaders to better prioritise diversity and representation across all areas of the beauty business. Snapchat will host a dedicated profile for BIIA-curated content to amplify BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of colour) and allied creator voices.

At Meta, Ime Archibong, head of new product experimentation, dropped details of this month’s plans last week. Archibong said: “We’re launching the Metaverse Culture Series, a workshop collaboration with Black creators and thought leaders exploring Black culture and community in VR. We’re also honouring Black changemakers through immersive VR and AR experiences and content across our technologies.”

Archibong also said that Meta would be celebrating the Black community through curated content and programming across its technologies. Among highlights is Travelling While Black, a free cinematic VR experience from Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams that explores the history of restriction of movement for Black Americans and the creation of safe spaces in Black communities.

On the Lift Black Voices hub on Facebook will be creator content like Black is the New Black: a fashion-focused Live Audio Room hosted by Refinery29 global editor-in-chief Simone Oliver and celebrity stylist and Bulletin writer Law Roach. Other titles include Notes of Gratitude, #MyBlackJoy and Future Made. The latter is a new video series and Reels challenge on Instagram and Facebook, which will feature conversations between public figures and their family members celebrating the richness of Black family legacy. In addition, We The Culture, which has 30,000 followers in Facebook, will continue to elevate Black creators with the History for the Future campaign.
The UK & Ireland have their own Black History Month – celebrated in October.

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