NEW GEN Z 101: Unlock & Outlast Microtrends
Jun 26 2020
On Thursday, in an 11-minute long video—which has that garnered more than 3 million views—long-time YouTuber Jenna Mourey (known as “Jenna Marbles”) “tearfully” apologized for several “offensive” videos on her channel including one where she used “blackface” to imitate Nick Minaj, made a racist joke about Asian men, and “slut shamed” women. In the message, Mourey announced that she was leaving the platform indefinitely, and will be setting half of her content to private, explaining, “I’m sorry if any of that holds any nostalgia for you. But I’m literally not trying to put out negative things into the world.” Fellow YouTubers have been posting messages of support and thanks as the news has spread through the creator world. Since starting her channel in 2010, Mourey has amassed more than 20 million subscribers, and for years she’s been at the top of the ranking of Gen Z and Millennial favorite online celebrities. But since the start of the Black Lives Matter protests, young fans have been urging influencers to either show support for the movement or “stop posting entirely,” and YPulse research shows young consumers believe that admitting past wrongs is necessary. YPulse research on brand causes and crises found that 57% of 13-39-year-olds believe that a brand being honest about making a mistake makes them feel they can trust the brand more—and that same belief can be applied to online celebrities as well.
This week, white actresses Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell announced they would be stepping down from voicing biracial characters on Netflix’s Big Mouth and Apple TV’s Central Park. In an Instagram post that received nearly 120K likes, Slate said she can no longer play the character of Missy, who is half Black, because “Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people,” while Bell acknowledged her “acts of complicity” and wants to “relinquish” the role of Molly to someone who would give a more “accurate portrayal” in a post that’s received more than 280K likes. Previously, popular animated shows like The Simpsons, Bojack Horseman, and the gaming industry have been criticized for allowing white actors to voice non-white characters. Animated series aren’t the only TV shows facing a reckoning this week: NBC and Tina Fey announced that they were pulling episodes of 30 Rock from streaming services that featured blackface, Scrubs episodes with blackface are reportedly being pulled as well, and an episode from The Office was re-edited to cut out a scene with blackface in it. Terry Crews, who stars in NBC’s cop comedy show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, said they were scrapping next season’s episodes and starting over amid the protests against police brutality. Previously, the cast and show’s creator announced that they were donating $100,000 to racial justice organizations in support of the George Floyd protests, and urged for other actors who portray cops on TV to step up and donate.
Earlier this week, after nonprofit advocacy organizations composed of the NAACP, Color of Change, Free Press, Sleeping Giants, and the Anti-Defamation League came together to launch the Stop Hate for Change campaign, they called for companies to pull their advertising from Facebook. The groups alleged that the social network has “allowed posts that call for violence against racism and police brutality protesters” and that Black users have reportedly been receiving threats. They also state that Facebook continues to allow misinformation about politics to remain online “in plain view,” and have turned “a blind eye to blatant voter suppression,” and have employed companies “with ties to white supremacists as fact-checkers.” The North Face was the first major brand to pull their ads. They announced that they were participating in the movement on Twitter, in a post that received 52.8K likes, stating “We’re in. We’re out, @Facebook.” Outdoor brands Patagonia (whose Twitter post received 132K likes) and REI followed suit, and Ben & Jerry’s, known for its progressive track record, joined as well. Verizon is perhaps the biggest corporation to join the boycott—and the list is only continuing to grow. While companies and users have boycotted Facebook in the past for various scandals, according to some, this one is “different.”
This week, NYX Professional Makeup brand urged TikTokers to join its #BrowFitness challenge by creating and posting videos that show a workout routine for putting on eyebrow makeup. The hashtag launched on June 22 and has racked up more than 705 million views in just two days, and as of today has more than 1 billion views. The L’Oréal brand brought on influencers Brent Rivera, Demi Bagby, Christian Dennis, and Janina—who each have millions of followers—to lead the campaign. In their videos, each creator is seen following a series of workout steps while putting on the eyebrow makeup. Prior to the #BrowFitness challenge, they launched a #ButterGlossPop one in April that has more than 10 billion views. Previously, other beauty brands like e.l.f Cosmetics have seen successful viral campaigns with their #eyeslipsface challenge, which has surpassed 5 billion views, and the #elfvanishingact (which has more than 16 million views) from earlier this year. During the pandemic, TikTok emerged as the breakout social media platform of quarantined teens and families have flocked to the app to participate in viral dance challenges.
Taco Bell’s 15 second ad featuring a fake reality show is racking up millions of views.
TikTok users are showing off their best #summerlooks.
And other TikTokers are planning to scam Trump (again)
This TikTok user created a viral song that is calling out people who are using “racist statistics.”
“Oddly satisfying” home renovation videos are having a moment on TikTok.
Disney+ has officially dropped the trailer for Hamilton.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is adding a feature that will allow gamers to swim—just in time for the summer.
Popular 2000s bands are becoming the masters of memes.
Some My Little Pony fans are admitting they have a “Nazi problem.”
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