The “Black Twitter” phenomenon was once a term coined for social media obsessed African Americans; now it’s become a powerful voice that is creating a political and cultural movement in America. Thanks to Black Twitter, a juror from the Zimmerman trial was stifled from writing a book to monetize her experience on the controversial case, reports BuzzFeed.
Just days after the “not guilty” verdict that set the nation askew, Sharlene Martin, a literary agent, announced she would represent the not-yet-identified Juror B37 in writing a book.
“My hope is that people will read Juror B37’s book, written with her attorney husband, and understand the commitment it takes to serve and be sequestered on a jury in a highly publicized murder trial,” Martin told ABC News. “The reader will also learn why the jurors had no option but to find Zimmerman not guilty…”
Genie Lauren, a Twitter user that goes by the alias @MoreandMoreAgain, created a Change.org petition to thwart the juror’s authorial plans. “Please don’t allow this person to profit off of the injustice,” the petition noted. To advertise her campaign, she tweeted “You can tweet, email, snail mail, and call @sharlenemartin to request she drop juror B37,” added BuzzFeed.
Black Twitter was enraged and helped Lauren gather 1,300 signatures. “Think everyone should let @sharlenemartin know how disgusting and inappropriate the book, deal and her representing […] is, Twitter user LastNameMorris wrote.
One Twitter user even called the book’s capitalization off the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman trial “blood money.”
“I was shocked because I didn’t think the response from other Tweeters would happen so quickly,” Lauren told NewsOne in an interview, “I thought that even if we got 1,000 signatures that I would hear something like, ‘Sorry you feel this way but we’re still going ahead with this book.’”
Submitting under pressure, Martin directly messaged Lauren on Twitter and announced she was dropping juror B37’s book deal. Black Twitter prevails.
“I decided to rescind my offer of representation after watching Juror B37 on Anderson Cooper 360,” Martin told NBC. “I believe I made a grave error in judgment in wanting to represent this story. Shortly after the show aired, I reached out to B37 and suggested we terminated our book representation agreement.”
Black Twitter, known for causing a stir on the Paula Deen scandal—remember the #paulabestdishes hashtag?–and giving Kerry Washington’s Scandal nation-wide attention, is becoming compelling force that truly effects change.
“Now, black folks on Twitter aren’t just influencing the conversation online, they’re creating it,” added BuzzFeed.
Actually, separately but related, Black Twitter is impacting BuzzFeed itself. You may have noticed that #BlackBuzzfeed is trending. Inspired by that hashtag, the site actually created a story. Internet!