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In These Tweets is a weekly cultural dive into trending topics on Twitter. A collection of snapshot analyses on a variety of moments impacting our world. Sometimes serious, sometimes light, always substantive. We outchea, #InTheseTweets.
According to a recently published story in the Los Angeles Times, United States citizens married to immigrants who do not have social security numbers will not receive stimulus checks for COVID-19 relief. “More than 1 million U.S. citizens, in states as far afield as California and Pennsylvania, have been blocked from receiving stimulus checks because they are married to immigrants who don’t have Social Security numbers. Some are frontline workers employed in hospitals, police departments and public transit. Others have been laid off or are working fewer hours as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” writes Jenny Jarvie in a piece that gives a visceral example of the xenophobia the Trump administration is fueled by. I mean, what really is the justification for this? Even with Trump’s noted disdain for immigrants from specific countries, how does this administration explain to a citizen that has a spouse without an SSN that because of their immigration status, the citizen is unable to get a check? Especially since checks go to each tax-paying individual in a household and are not distributed per couple. If there was not a checkered past and current reality of this administration looking to enact discriminatory policies against immigrant people, you might be able to come to a conclusion that is devoid of nationalism. But, since we know who we’re dealing with here…
Former gubernatorial candidate for the state of Georgia, Stacey Abrams, had some smoke and some stats for her former rival and current Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. Kemp recently announced plans to lift stay at home restrictions and reopen non-essential businesses such as nail salons, gyms and movie theaters in the coming days. Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was outraged by the governor’s decision, while Abrams tweeted about Georgia’s current numbers regarding its coronavirus outbreak. Kemp, who engaged in damn near criminal levels of voter suppression during his campaign against Abrams, is the embodiment of a Trump adjacent governor who is opting to ignore the escalation of virus outbreak in his state if it means he can be seen as heroic for ‘saving’ the economy. I got family and friends in Georgia, specifically Atlanta, and I’m hoping they ignore the governor’s decision and stay the hell out of harm’s way.
Legendary R&B singer Toni Braxton tweeted some realness about the producer beat battles, #Verzuz, curated by Swizz Beats and Timbaland. Braxton tweeted after the iconic rescheduling of the Babyface vs Teddy Riley “battle” that saw upwards of 4 million Instagram users tuned in. The original battle with all of its technical difficulties inspired a wide variety of hilarious memes because Black folks on social media in moments of cultural impact are literally undefeated. But all jokes aside, the #Verzuz battles, which have been viewed by millions, and D-Nice’s bandwidth breaking #ClubQuarantine sessions along with scores of other Black creatives and musicians, have been providing entertainment to assist with stay at home efforts, most of which has been ignored by mainstream media outlets. But not only do we know the value of these cultural offerings, the rest of the world knows as well. Black culture is damn near America’s most tenured essential employee. Through music, advocacy and action, the soul of America has been tethered to Black folks since the first slave hymns were stolen from disenfranchised mouths and repurposed as minstrel shows.
Comedian Naomi Ekperign tweeted a simple question that garnered a great bit of hilarious responses in the age of social distancing. “How are we ending phone conversations now that we don’t have anywhere to go?” Ekperigin asked her nearly 30,000 followers, with some folks responding that they have been direct in telling people ‘look I gotta go’ and others saying they have to tend to food that’s cooking or even to go get ready for an upcoming Instagram live event. Needless to say, it’s never been more difficult to exit from a conversation with someone long-winded. Sometimes you just have to accidentally hit that end call button and run out of battery life when they attempt to call back.
Four years ago, the world lost one of the most iconic musicians and cultural icons to ever live. Prince Rogers Nelson, artistically known as Prince, redefined style, gender norms and Blackness all while creating some of THE MOST TIMELESS music to ever be recorded. When I think about Prince’s transition in the spring of 2016, I think about how it felt like an awful forecasting of a turbulent year to come. The year 2016 saw the passing of several cultural icons, the election of Donald Trump, an escalation in headline-breaking occurrences of state sanctioned violence and a general cloud of despair for many people. It can be said that January’s tragic helicopter crash involving Kobe and Gianna Bryant, along with seven other passengers in Calabasas, also felt like a sign of difficult times ahead, as we are now (at minimum) two full months into the global vice grip of COVID-19. When it rains, it pours, or as Prince once sang, “sometimes it snows in April.” We are all enduring the cold reality of a world placed on pause that is still managing to subtract many of our loved ones from us. Fortunately, we have the gift of Prince’s musical output at our disposal to help us rock out through these heart-wrenching times.