Date of Award

5-2-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

African-American Studies

First Advisor

Lia T. Bascomb

Second Advisor

Tiffany King

Third Advisor

Jamae Morris

Abstract

There is a growing body of scholarship on the nature of social media and its ability to contest racial identity. Research has greatly focused on hashtag activism and the role of Black Twitter in raising consciousness and constructing counterhegemonic presentations of self. However, there is relatively little academic literature surrounding the ways in which dark-skinned African American women are engaging in hashtags to counter colorist ideologies about darker skin tones. Two focus groups and a qualitative content analysis of Tweets containing the hashtag #MelaninPoppin were conducted to explore the ability of social media hashtags to affirm beauty, and encourage powerful self-defining expressions for dark-skinned African American women. Utilizing bell hooks’ notion of "homeplace" as a theoretical framework, this study examines how social media hashtags act as digital sites of resistance; where the wounds of colorism can be healed and renewed.

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