Kentucky student Kylah Spring's speech


What the Sophia Rosing case reveals about racism and the viral economy of Black trauma

It is essential for creators to unpack how virality around an incident of hate is profitable for social media platforms.


Prince Shakur


Posted on Dec 12, 2022   Updated on Jul 26, 2023, 5:47 pm CDT


This story was originally published on Passionfruit.


This article contains descriptions of racial violence. 

In a culture contending with hyper-visible incidents of racism—like leaked footage in November 2022 of influencer Sophia Rosing using racial slurs—it is essential for creators to unpack how virality around an incident of hate is profitable for social media platforms, like TikTok or Twitter, and how the internet has changed our understanding of accountability.

On Nov. 6, 2022, a video surfaced of a white University of Kentucky student drunkenly entering a dormitory. In the footage, the student, who was later identified as social media marketing student and campus “influencer” Sophia Rosing, then appeared to attack and use a racial slur against two Black people. 

One of these victims came forward and identified themselves as Kylah Spring, a residential assistant, and the other is a student who is yet to be identified publicly. During the altercation, the footage appears to show Rosing attempting to run Spring over with a shopping cart and throwing punches at her. Within the video’s ten-minute span, Rosing can be heard shouting the N-word more than 200 times, with the footage suggesting that the slur was directed at Spring. Rosing was then arrested at approximately 4 a.m., according to the Daily Mail.

Rosing was charged with intoxication in a public place, assault, disorderly conduct, and assault on an officer. She pleaded not guilty, and a grand jury will next decide whether there is enough evidence to indict. In the meantime, Rosing was released on a $10,000 bond. She has not yet spoken publicly about the incident, but her attorney reportedly stated she is “enrolled in treatment” and “will apologize at the appropriate time.”

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*First Published: Dec 12, 2022, 4:40 pm CST