A video has been uploaded from a live source, then circulated from one user to another, and becomes a trending topic. The cycle has been repeated, although the spectacle of the violence perpetrated on Black bodies has existed for years. But what does it mean that these videos are "produced" and shared? How are these videos being consumed? What are our actions once we "see" and share? How do our actions condone the necropolitics at play? This essay seeks to ask, does a Black life really matter? The ubiquity of social media has fostered an ever-increasing mediated culture on the injustice of racialized violence. Like a "snuff" film depicting the death of an innocent for pleasure, does our lack of concrete action reveal a hidden pleasure? Our silent complicity is discussed in this essay in three key areas: 1) the popular focus on videos of state-sanctioned deaths of Black male victims; 2) the quiet reactions in cases of the deaths of women and transpersons by police; and 3) the silence surrounding cases of injury to Black women by police. The concluding aim in this examination is to make the underlining principle of #BlackLivesMatter a call for justice, as much about substance as it is about form.


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pp. 777-806
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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