People on Twitter are revealing the first time they saw 'themselves' on screen.

Lieutenant Uhura in "Star Trek." Tia and Tamera from "Sister, Sister." Susie Carmichael on "The Rugrats."

Twitter users are chiming in with stories of the first time they felt represented by a character on-screen, using the hashtag #FirstTimeISawMe

The trending hashtag is part of a multimedia campaign launched by Netflix to promote its "diverse, layered and intersectional content," including Marvel's "Luke Cage" and "Dear White People."


Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images.

"Seeing someone that looks like you and deals with similar things that you have to deal with is powerful because you inevitably feel like you can conquer your issues once you see someone else on-screen do it first," Netflix spokesperson Myles Worthington writes in an email.

Many who posted to the hashtag noted the powerful impact that certain iconic characters — from princesses to Power Rangers — had on them as young children.

Characters like Static Shock, with fully fleshed out personalities, interests, and skills — particularly nerdy ones — received lots of praise.

Others, like Sulu from "Star Trek," even helped some Twitter users figure out what they wanted to do later in life.

Some pointed out that they're still waiting to see themselves fully represented.

With the ratings success of programming like FOX's "Empire" and ABC's Shonda Rhimes universe, both the small and large screen have diversified in recent years, though some would like to see the process speed up.

"I think it’s still slow going, but it’s getting better — depending on what you watch," Constance Gibbs of Black Girl Nerds, who collaborated on a video for the campaign, wrote in a blog post. "If you watch Netflix or ABC or even somewhat the CW, you may see someone who looks like you (but maybe not as a lead character). But if you watch a network like CBS, you probably won’t — no matter who you are."

CBS recently found itself mired in twin controversies after announcing a fall season with no female-helmed shows and after two Asian-American actors left long-running "Hawaii Five-O," citing pay discrepancies with their white cast-mates.

Gibbs noted, approvingly, that networks have featured more fully characterized dark-skinned black women on screen in recent years, in shows such as Netflix's "Chewing Gum" and ABC's "Still Star-Crossed" and hopes the networks continue to spread the opportunity around.

"There are many who are still waiting for that first burst of authentic representation," she writes over email.

Netflix hopes the campaign will emphasize its commitment to this growing trend.

"We don’t have advertisers to think of, or specific time slots to consider, or a cap on the amount of shows we can create," Worthington says. "If we uncover a unique story that we think our members will enjoy, we can bring it to life."

Uncover enough of them, and perhaps today's kids won't have to start an appreciative hashtag on the social network of tomorrow.

Though we're always here for more Power Rangers GIFs.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
True

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

Keep Reading Show less

As I was doomscrolling through Twitter yesterday, the wording of an Associated Press post caught my eye. "The Supreme Court will allow absentee ballots in North Carolina to be received and counted up to 9 days after Election Day, in a win for Democrats," it read.

A win for Democrats? Surely they meant a win for Americans? For voters? For democracy?


Keep Reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Claudia Romo Edelman
True

When the novel coronavirus hit the United States, life as we knew it quickly changed. As many people holed up in their homes, some essential workers had to make the impossible choice of going to work or quitting their jobs— a choice they continue to make each day.

Because over 80 percent of working Hispanic adults provide essential services for the U.S. economy, the Hispanic community is disproportionately affected. Hispanic families are also much more likely to live in multigenerational households, carrying the extra risk of infecting the most vulnerable. In fact, Hispanics are 20 times more likely than other patients to test positive for COVID-19.

Claudia Romo Edelman saw a community in desperate need of guidance and support. And she created Hispanic Star, a non-profit designed to help Hispanic people in the U.S. pull together as a proud, unified group and overcome barriers — the most pressing of which is the effects of the pandemic.

Because the Hispanic community is so diverse, unification is, and was, an enormous challenge.

Photo credit: Hispanic Star

Keep Reading Show less

Electing Donald Trump to be president of the United States set an incredibly ugly example for the nation's youth.

We know how it's affected the national discourse of regular adults. But there's no denying the conduct of a president impacts how children around the world see the example being set for them. Every day for the past four years, children have been subjected to the behavior of a divisive figure that many of their parents chose to exalt to the most powerful office in the world.

Sure, adults can make excuses for him saying he's an "imperfect messenger" or that they "didn't vote for him to be reverend," but these are all just ways to rationalize voting for a man with zero character. What a message to send to children: Act awful and you'll be handsomely rewarded.

But what if you took away the "Trump" name and examined the character traits of him as an ordinary person? More specifically, what if your daughter came to you and said this was the kind of person she was planning to date? Well, one MAGA family found out and the results are funny, insightful and quite revealing about how we somehow hold our leaders to different and lower standards than we expect from ourselves in our day to day lives.

Keep Reading Show less

After years of advocating for racial justice and calling out police brutality and seeing little change in law enforcement and our justice system, some people are rightfully fed up. When complaints are met with inaction, protests are met with inaction, and direct action is met with inaction, maybe it's time to get specific in who needs to be held accountable for issues in law enforcement.

That's exactly what Keiajah (KJ) Brooks did at a Board of Police Commissioners meeting in her hometown of Kansas City this week. The 20-year-old used her approximately four minutes with the microphone—and with the commissioners' undivided attention—to unequivocally lay out her position to each and every one of the officials in that room.

"Fair warning, I'm not nice and I don't seek to be respectable," she began. "I'm not asking y'all for anything because y'all can't and won't be both my savior and my oppressor. I don't want reform. I want to turn this building into luxury low-cost housing. These would make some really nice apartments."

"Firstly, stop using Black children as photo opportunities, 'cause they're cute now, but in 10 years, they're Black male suspects in red shirts and khaki shorts," she said. "Eating cookies and drinking milk with children does not absolve you of your complicity in their oppression and denigration..." she added, before looking directly at the police chief and pointedly calling him out by name, "...Rick Smith."

Keep Reading Show less