What Chewbacca Mom’s rise to fame tells us about race in this country

chewbacca mom

Excerpt from this article:

…[Chewbacca Mom] Payne went on to receive a bigger prize than most viral stars are used to seeing. Payne, her husband and two children were given a tuition-free attendance to Southeastern University, a private Christian college in Lakeland, Florida… It’s true, free tuition is an oversized prize for such easily begotten fame. It’s also true that the real rewards typically reaped for online success tend to heavily favor insta-celebrities who are white. Content derived from black users of Twitter, Vine, or Snapchat is often sidelined as part of a monolithic Black Twitter. Black users of social media often have a comparable—if not larger—effect on the digital conversation and create moments, pictures, jokes, and movements that deeply root themselves into the mass culture. Yet, as Payne’s success highlights, that’s often ignored when it comes to big payouts for fleeting social media fame.

The most famous example of this is likely the story of Kayla Newman, aka Peaches Monroee. In 2014, Newman uploaded a Vine to show off her new eyebrow threading and famously uttered the phrase “eyebrows on fleek.”

The video popularized, if not coined, the term “on fleek” which has since been used by marketers and clothing companies with zero credit to Newman.… “I gave the world a word,” Newman told Fader Magazine. “At the moment I haven’t gotten any endorsements or received any payment. I feel that I should be compensated. But I also feel that good things happen to those who wait.”

 

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