“Our Struggles Are Unequal”: Black Women’s Affective Labor Between Television and Twitter

Maragh, Raven S.
Journal of Communication Inquiry

This article uses the digital and affective labor frameworks to examine how Black women provide specific kinds of production online. The intersection of television and Twitter through “live tweeting” elucidates unique ways in which Black women function within each site as well as between them. Through a critical race analysis of the documentary Light Girls, I examine the material functions and corporate goals of Twitter coupled with the solicitation strategies of the Oprah Winfrey Network. In doing so, I show how these women’s affective labor gets refashioned as production. I argue that the grassroots functions and rhetoric of Twitter rely specifically on Black women. Similarly, television networks rely on these women as they reify the text and provide sustained feedback to its content. The exploitation of Black women occurs within and between these two media through the women’s production of affective labor.