I Know What Social Media Bullies Look Like, Because I Resembled Them
Most of us have heard of Jennifer Holliday. We think Dreamgirls — the original Broadway gem, and then every thing else is strewn from your age bracket. For me, it ends with the musical that became a movie and introduced me to Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, who incidentally played the role that Holliday made famous.
Thank God she won!
All hell would’ve broken loose if another name had been imprinted on the golden envelope. The year was 2007, and what has now become the minefield of poisoned chaos — Twitter — was just about a year old. It’s hard to conceive of a time when we didn’t have access to the specified tool that bequeaths us with the power to rule over the ones we label as “unverified.”
Well, it started out that way — but as with everything, once the comfort level rises — it’s human nature to over-indulge and readily assume that anyone can be defeated by the power of swift clicks.
The numbers game has become a beloved ritual that entraps you each time you view the growing faceless disciples that show affection — through adherence to retweets, likes, quoted tweets, replies and of course the intimacy of messaging.
The love notes that filter in with the cadence for a bond that may or may not exist.
Through it all — the theme of being a champion at this sport — is the flexibility of moods. One minute you are happily sharing a Moment that garners praise for your quick wit and sharp attention to the fast-paced landscape of trends — and then suddenly you’re being tossed into a verbal scuffle that demands a worthy skill-set with seconds of practice.
Fame is definitely a drug that most of us seek even when we curse out the ones who found it with no effort at all. Thankfully, we don’t have to pace the chilled pathways of neighborhood malls in the hopes that desperate talent scouts sniff us out of the crowd.
You can be a rock-star by simply maneuvering your fragile character towards the setting of a screen that gives the instructions you need to fulfill your most selfish and vile desires.
You can be a hero in the worst sense if you dispense with the pleasantries and get down and dirty. You earn extra points if you completely tune off anything that erupts your conscience or any semblance of humane tendencies.
The payback is increasing numbers, the pride of amassing a legion of retweets that keep you high all day and up all night. There is the possibility of taking your show on the road via messaging from a handful of producers who are assigned the viral beat. And of course, you get to fuck up someone else’s life in a fashion that is unforgivable, but totally fair under the code of conduct as it pertains to practiced usage — and the founders who get wealthier each time you tweet out your composed venom.
Like you, I’ve had my fair share of trolls who tried it but got booted off before they could enhance their credentials. A lot of them were eggheads and others allowed their mugs to represent — which always proved to be a hysterically bad idea.
I’ve seen well-established media types succumb to the glory of having followers mimic their quest to take down the designated scum of the day. It starts out ugly and ends tragically.
The over-zealous mob simply follows the leader and makes no attempt to investigate the matter. Who cares if the tweeted headline follows standard click-bait procedures? What does it matter that Zoe Saldana’s comments were taken out of context for the benefit of ensuing a social riot led by TV One’s Roland Martin who by the way — systematically feeds women of color in his industry — to the gangs of disruption as if it’s the most majestic thing in the world.
All we care about is the bare-boned carcass that serves as evidence of how well we’ve mastered the playbook of being social while hiding under the covers of cowardice and a depleting soul.
I now fully recognize the genetics of carnivorous trolls — because for a brief time — I inherited the gene.
When Jennifer Holliday was tossed into the ring to be battered and bruised because of a decision to perform at Donald J. Trump inauguration — I followed the manuscript and went berserk. My contribution to the chaos wasn’t nearly as gross as what I came across, but what scares me is how easily I digested the unfathomable.
Holliday, was forced to back out after the onslaught of abuse became life-threatening.
While watching her appearance on The View — I could feel myself disintegrating as the grafts of what I thought I was becoming began to slip away. My raw flesh emerged and it was a painful transition. Makeovers are supposed to be fun — and yet, this better version of myself rattled me to the core.
Holliday’s description of the treatment she has received from her own community pierced me in the gut. I could ask how in the fuck we got to this place, but that would be woefully generic.
We all know how it happened.
It’s clear why we are so carefree with the notion of making deadly promises to the catch of the day. We totally get why it’s so easy to toy with the emotions of a human being for entertainment purposes — and zero consideration for what happens when we pass out on the keyboard that provided our fix for the night.
Some people are punished for a time –and then they reappear because money calls and since we are pawns in a scheme that makes us feel invincible — the shittiness that causes us to act like savages must continue in order for lawlessness to retain it’s profitable status.
My makeover is complete.
I am incredibly sorry for my participation in the messiness of the mob squad and I promise to never allow the clicks to overtake my sensibilities. I know that you don’t give a damn because the life of a rock star can’t ever end without crashing.
I just hope that when you wake up — there will be enough of you left to repair.