#StayWoke: The Language and Literacies of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

Elaine Richardson, Alice Ragland


This paper examines the language, literacies, communicative, and rhetorical practices of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The work pays attention to the communication practices of the BLM and Hip Hop generation in its extension of Black and African American language traditions and prior liberation movements in their unapologetic performance of Black chants, Black grammar, phonology, vocabulary, Black fashion and music, to die-ins, hands-up, and the technologization of the movement through social media, Black Twitter, hashtags, and memes. The language and literacies of the Black Lives Matter movement represent diverse identities within Black community, vernacular associated with various economic and educational classes, diaspora, culturally rooted, Hip Hop generations, cis-gendered women, men, as well as LGBTQ and gender non-conforming. In this way, the language and literacies of BLM promote the value of ALL Black lives.

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Publication of the Community Literacy Journal is made possible through the generous support of the English Department and the Writing and Rhetoric Program at Florida International University. The CLJ is a journal of the Conference on Community Writing.