‘Black people weren’t just happy to be on Clubhouse — they knew it wouldn’t be as popular if they weren’t. They wanted the company to acknowledge it. They wanted to be heard.’

From critically acclaimed live performances of The Lion King to Beat Battle rooms where 21 Savage, Wiz Khalifa, and Drake judged work from fledgling producers, Clubhouse owes its “unicorn” status and social clout to its Black users, Keith Nelson Jr writes in LEVEL.

“For Black celebrities who are often used for the clout of their popularity and rarely the nuance of their personality, Clubhouse offered a rare gift: the power to choose who to engage with, and about what,” Nelson writes.

But now the platform has a choice to make. Will it recognize how important Black users are to its success, and prioritize their welfare on the app?

“For Clubhouse to truly be the transformative platform that humanizes the social media experience, it needs to preclude the cultural thievery and toxic racism that seems all but inherent in other social media platforms,” he writes. “The problem arises when you step back and realize that in order for Clubhouse to do that, Clubhouse can’t be Clubhouse.”

Read more on LEVEL.

Senior Writer at OneZero covering surveillance, facial recognition, DIY tech, and artificial intelligence. Previously: Qz, PopSci, and NYTimes.

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