White Privilege on Loop

Twitter discontinues Vine
(Yui Mok / EMPPL PA Wire via AP Images)

At The Outline, Ann-Derrick Gaillot profiles ex-Vine star Christiana Gilles (@NaturalExample) for the app’s one-year deathiversary. Gaillot traces the abrupt plateau of Gilles’ career before and after Vine became a museum, highlighting the postmortem struggles Gilles shares with other popular creators from Black Vine:

At some point in Vine’s history, a divide emerged between people who were able to fit Vine into their lives and people who were able to make Vine their full-time jobs. Popular users evolved into influencers, branching out into making branded videos for Instagram and YouTube, and an exclusive group of stars turned into superstars, all sharing common threads. Their content was largely inoffensive, apolitical, and slightly obvious; they were conventionally attractive, and easily insertable into a Disney show or network holiday special. Many were still under their parents’ watch when they discovered Vine, young enough to take a chance without facing significant financial risk. Most of all, though, Vine stars who have mainstream success didn’t reflect the diversity of communities that made a beloved and still-mourned creative hub.

“There was this community called Black Vine, and they were honestly the trendsetters. This is a community that was very strong on Vine that did not get noticed,” said Drea KB, who found fame on Vine after her imitations of her Nigerian parents went viral. “A lot of these Vine trends that happened, they’re the ones who secretly started them. But then the bigger community — I would say Caucasian community — would take over it and they would get credit for it.”

In looking at who has and has not financially profited from Vine, it’s easy to see a division between the less popular creators, many of whom are black and gave online culture many enduring reference points, and those who have gone on to become multi-millionaires, many of whom are white.

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