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Why #GrowingUpBlack is more than just a hashtag

The black community came together on Twitter to celebrate their experience.


Leslie Antonoff


Posted on Jul 16, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 8:31 am CDT

The thing about being a part of the black diaspora is that no matter how far we may get from one another, our collective experiences will always bring us back together. That was evident yesterday when the Twitter hashtag #GrowingUpBlack took off as people across generations and geographic locations gave credence to what made their childhoods specifically black.

If there’s one thing that connects black people throughout time and space, it’s our interactions with our mothers. Some of these tweets can attest to the effect our mothers had on our upbringing. And even if we thought no one else’s mom could possibly have been as bad as ours, Twitter helped confirm that no one suffers alone.


If you never knew that forgetting to take out the chicken for dinner was the biggest fear in a black child’s life, now you know.

What makes trending topics like these so amazing is that we’re able to recognize our commonalities, even if it can seem easier to focus on our differences. There’s solace in knowing that while you cursed your mother under your breath for not stopping at McDonald’s on the way home, or had your life threatened if you asked for anything in the store, another child not too far away was in your shoes, too.

It wasn’t just the bonding of crazy mama antics that made the trending topic #GrowingUpBlack hilariously resonant. References to items that were staples in black homes across America truly brought us together.

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Collective moments like this are important in the black community. We spend so much time fighting against things like cultural appropriation, attacks on our churches, or battling for the fair treatment of black women, and once in a while, it’s good to forgo the fight and engage in a good time. Instances like this show that even amidst our struggles to stay strong, we, too, are people with lives that have brought us joy.

For many #GrowingUpBlack isn’t just a hashtag but rather the backbone of who we are. For it is these trials and triumphs that have carved us into adults who can reflect on our pasts with pride. 

Photo via javcon117/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Jul 16, 2015, 2:17 pm CDT