Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird are two of 92 women who spearheaded the #ShareTheMicNow social media campaign, which launched on June 10, 2020. Inspired by the fight for racial equality in the U.S. and around the world, the hashtag has amplified Black voices by encouraging white celebrities to hand over their Instagram accounts to influential Black women.
Forty-six white women partnered with 46 Black women like #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, marketing executive Bozoma Saint John, and photographer and activist Eunique Jones Gibson. The campaign aimed to give these women a larger following to spread their message and amplify Black voices. According to Fortune, the campaign reached more than 300 million Instagram followers.
“When the World listens to women, it listens to white women,” #ShareTheMicNow organizers shared in a statement on Instagram.“For far too long, Black women’s voices have gone unheard, even though they’ve been using their voices loudly for centuries to enact change. Today, more than ever, it is NECESSARY that we create a unifying action to center Black women’s lives, stories, and calls to action. We need to listen to Black women.”
Seattle Storm guard and three-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird handed the torch to Olympian Dr. Seun Adigun. In Adigun’s first post on Bird’s account, she wrote, “My purpose in life revolves around being the voice for the unheard, creating opportunities for the underserved, and helping people achieve their greatest quality of life.” Bird is carrying Adigun’s sentiment with her, as she continues to dedicate her social media efforts to uplifting Black voices.
Bird’s partner and U.S. women’s national soccer team member Megan Rapinoe has shared the same message for years. In 2016, she knelt during the national anthem in solidarity with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Their peaceful protest, in light of police brutality and racial inequities that have riddled the U.S. for hundreds of years, resulted in both the NFL and US Soccer Federation implementing bans on kneeling during the national anthem. However, after yet another uproar from the American people in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many more that have died at the hands of police brutality, change may have finally begun to take place. On June 10, 2020, the same day that Rapinoe shared her Instagram with artist and activist Fresco Steez, the U.S. Soccer Federation repealed their “Anthem Policy.”
The #ShareThe MicNow event planners, Bozoma Saint John, authors Glennon Doyle and Luvvie Ajayi Jones, and Alice + Olivia designer Stacey Bendet, have joined in this drive for transformation. While we cannot all have platforms as expansive as the dynamic duo of Bird and Rapinoe, the organizers still encourage everyone to join in the efforts #ShareTheMicNow campaign. In this window of opportunity, they urge people to resist posting on social media unless it uplifts Black voices in your community–we are all responsible for the change that can take place.