Not One Dime in November 2014. Not One Viewer in February 2015. Black buying power has always been written about and talked about. But now, it’s actually being demonstrated in living color and in front of everyone who is paying any attention. It was the energy of the BlackLivesMatter movement after the shooting death of Michael Brown in August of 2014 that ignited a Black Friday boycott effort in November 2014.
It appeared to have worked as Black Friday sales numbers went down over ten percent. According to Fortune magazine, the numbers from the year before were 11% down. The Black Friday “not one dime” boycott showed what could happen when the buying power of African Americans is engaged on a social issue.
For the Oscar broadcast on February 22, 2015, Black Twitter showed what can happen when people are organized to simply watch something else. Anyone who believes the Oscar folks weren’t paying attention need only look at the endless parade of Black actors who were presenters on Oscar night.
Either the lowest ratings since 2009 just happened to occur out of nowhere or #BlackTwitter orchestrated a successful boycott of the Oscars because of the Joe Califano-led snubbing of Selma director Ava DuVernay and the exclusion of any Black actor or actress from any major Oscar category.
Deadline Hollywood: “10.8 rating among adults 18-49 with 36.6 million viewers. That’s a 17% drop in the key demo from the final ratings for the 2014 Academy Awards and the worst the ceremony has done since 2008, when that show had a 10.68 rating. The total viewership for last night’s Oscars was down 18% from last year to hit a six-year low; the 2009 Oscars also had a total audience of 36.6 million.”
Imagine if the boycott energy was applied to voting or politics? What might come next?