There’s a new Gif in town and it goes by the name of “Drake_Clapping.gif”.
Chances are you’ve seen it used in celebration, perhaps congratulating a newborn relative on entering the mortal plane via Twitter¹, or in the midst of a heated argument on Facebook².
You may be surprised to hear there’s another side to the seemingly innocent animation of the thrilled Canadian rising from his seat in applause, a side that’s setting back the equality movement by a decade each time it is used.
¹ Twitter.com, a popular k-pop discussion forum
² Facebook.com, a website owned by a Zuckerberg
The image, as summarised above, is used as frequently as once every five seconds, according to statistics provided by the 2017 Reaction Image Research Survey and may actually be a prime example of “cultural appropriation”, a brand new phrase that perfectly describes the difficulty caused for the progression of humanity by those who use another culture’s creations and traditions.
Drake is famous for being one of the first black men to appear on Canadian National Television, launching a career in his 2001 role as Jimmy Brooks in the hit show Degrassi, Drake proceeded to build a career starring in reaction images as well as music albums.
Because of the context of the man behind the image, many believe it’s not appropriate for a person without colour (PWC) to post the image by his own hand, lest other internet users mistake him for the hip-hop star, falsely accrediting the words written beside the .GIF to the (blissfully) unaware three-time Grammy winner.
In the era of apartheid this may have been acceptable but in the 2018th year of our lord, it leaves a stale taste in the mouth of smartphones worldwide (the mouth perhaps being the charging port) like a digital durian fruit, undoing the progress in the equality movement whenever a non-drake individual culturally appropriates the image for their own expression.
Sometimes referred to as “digital blackface”, I would rather call this phenomenon what it really is – wh*te supremacy.
When an individual chooses to (for example) use an emoji with a skin tone that does not match their own, they’re sending the message that they speak on behalf of not only those whose tone it does match but they’re also attempting to speak on behalf of all emojis who are famously stuck inside devices, unable to roam the physical world like us mortals and therefore the most marginalised demographic as of late.
It’s due to this power inequity we here at InfoBomb believe to that using the Drake Clapping Gif is a net negative for humanity and is therefore problematic, although many are ignorant to this fact.
Next time you use a reaction image or emoji, please take a moment to consider whether or not it’s likely to be problematic and hurtful, because chances are it is.