Last week I saw a tweet directing tweetheads to the list of The 100 Most Powerful Men on Twitter:
"These men have the ability to drive massive traffic with a single tweet of a link, are constantly retweeted by their loyal followers, and exist on thousands of lists created by their fans."
I scanned the list quickly and noticed a trend. Here are the first 5 entries on the list:
- LeBron James: High profile basketball player
- IamDiddy Music mogul and artist
- Kanye West: Music mogul and artist
- BarackObama: 44th President of the United States. According to BarackObama's twitter profile, this is not President Obama's account but run by a grassroot organization
- Tyga: I have no idea who this is but according to Wikipedia, he is a young rapper signed to Young Money entertainment.
The rest of the list is pretty similar; great representation from the world of sports, rap, R&B and entertainment but very little from academia, science, technology, health-care, business or even politics. Okay, I concede, Twitter is a social-network mainly associated with the entertainment industry. With the 140 characters limit, it is hardly the meeting place for deep intellectual discourse! However, Bill Gates and several other innovators from a plethora of other fields have accounts. Therefore, this list has really gotten me to think: are black men with the most impact on the planet likely to be rappers and sportsmen? Granted there are black men who have risen to the top of their respective fields outside of entertainment but are these people known or really recognized? Is the world learning to identify prominent black people with rap and sports rather than anything else? To me this is a troubling and very sad phenomenon.
P.S. I should add that philosopher and intellectual Professor Cornel West of Princeton University does feature on the list of 100 Black men on Twitter at Number 50. By the way, did you know that Cornel West was in The Matrix Reload and The Matrix Revolutions? Hmm... maybe it is all about entertainment.