You Really Need to Stop Using This Viral TikTok Sound

Last week, when discussing the disgusting manner in which many non-Black creators (almost entirely white women) appropriated and coopted songs about Black emancipation and the murder of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins to be their pick for a pro-choice protest anthem, there was a similar “phenomenon” happening at the same time. Leading up to the 4th of July, a soundbite by Jolene Carmella (a.k.a. @his_daughter_7) was shared and reused by over 7,000 videos of people protesting the SCOTUS decision to solidify all birthing people as second-class citizens, but the issues with this one take a surprising twist even beyond the appropriation issue.

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What freedom means to those in the United States (and, quite frankly, people ravaged by imperialistic U.S. military efforts abroad) is totally worth interrogating. Everyone’s personal journey in thinking critically about certain American holidays like the 4th and Thanksgiving looks different. Unless you’re given more honest depictions of history or are of a community that’s faced genocide and enslavement in the U.S., this trek usually starts in adulthood. All that being said, this is once again using Black experiences to speak for all women in a time of need or crisis.

This act of people using art and music made by Black creators is not always bad, but more often than not, it has been an issue. Not only is the cultural context important, but videos of those with lighter skin tones and features that appeal to Eurocentric beauty standards are more likely to be shared and appreciated. In the worst-case scenarios, we have a newer transition into digital blackface—something we see people shed when they finish their “retired Hot Cheeto girls phase.”

The bigger issue with sound

Even if we ignore all that, there is another glaring issue with where the voice is coming from. The original soundbite comes from someone who made several videos (many recently) in favor of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade and reproductive rights. Carmella has waxed about women now needing to be held “accountable” and “learn to keep [our] legs closed.” In addition to slut shaming, she regularly says women need to learn to submit to men and berates any other decisions regarding bodily autonomy, from twerking to getting an education.

While there’s the occasionally okay bit of info on her page, for the most part, Carmella is steeped in conspiracy theories on TikTok and proudly spews homophobic, transphobic, sexist, and anti-Black messaging. Mixed with some Bible quotes with Kevin Samuels and a sprinkle of white supremacist talking points about blaming a lack of two-parent households and the popularity of rap music for the problems facing Black Americans, and you get her page in a nutshell. She also posts antisemitic content, which is not surprising considering she identifies as a Hebrew Israelite and highlights like-minded hate-filled content creators, though she’s more blatant about who are the “real Jews” on her Facebook than she is on her Instagram and TikTok.

While this is certainly the wildest twist to digital Blackface I’ve seen in a while, this is yet another reason that stripping cultural context from things puts you in messy situations. This wasn’t buried in her page. The videos of her bigotry were 1–5 videos back, depending on what you notice. Before anyone argues the central thesis of the viral sound is okay or a broken clock is right twice a day, please remember that you don’t know the full context of that video. “The 4th for who?” could’ve referred to any number of her terrible ideas.

(featured image: NBC)

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Author
Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.