What becomes of Black Twitter on X? Hulu's 'Black Twitter' producers weigh in

(L-R): Jason Parham (senior writer at WIRED, producer); Prentice Penny (director, executive producer); Joie Jacoby (showrunner, executive producer)
(L-R): Jason Parham (senior writer at WIRED, producer); Prentice Penny (director, executive producer); Joie Jacoby (showrunner, executive producer)

What happens if a platform that became a proverbial watering hole of information just disappeared? This has been a lingering question since Twitter became X after the social media app was purchased by Elon Musk.

But digging deeper, what could that mean for the most marginalized on the platform? If there was no longer a Twitter, could Black Twitter still exist? This question was at the forefront of the creators' minds of the new Hulu docuseries Black Twitter: A People’s History when the platform was sold to Musk, and an overhaul of changes such as chopping DEI initiatives, legacy verification blue check policies, and the platform's name, changed mid-production.

Inspired by producer and journalist Jason Parham’s WIRED cover story “A People’s History of Black Twitter,” the new Hulu Black Twitter docuseries chronicles the rise, movements, voices, and memes that made Black Twitter an influential and dominant force across American political and cultural life. Executive producer Joie Jacoby oversaw this project as showrunner, with executive producer Prentice Penny as the director.

During filming for episode three of the Hulu doc, the discussion of whether we, as Black people, would we stay on the platform that had now become X was the hot gossip in between takes. Many of our answers varied, but a shared sentiment of uncertainty, fear, and praise for the legacy of Black Twitter as a new reality presented itself.

That fear manifested when the docuseries premiered, and many began sharing their thoughts while watching using the hashtags #BlackTwitterHulu and #BlackTwitter. But Musk's X (formerly Twitter) new AI tool Grok created a trending topic listing that retitled the docuseries and the community we all knew as "Hulu's Black X," rewriting history in real-time.

Post-production, I caught up with the producers of Black Twitter, and in that interview, we discussed the looming cloud of uncertainty of the online community we grew to love. "It's like, this wasn't made for us. I didn't buy this house. I didn't build this house, but I did help build this house," Penny tells PRIDE.

This is a view that many Black people understand and battle with in many ways, even whether or not to proudly claim the label "American" when though this country was built on the backs and labor of our ancestors, it wasn't intentionally created with us in mind. The same can be said for X (formerly Twitter), which has now seemingly tossed aside our contributions to the success of the platform for over a decade as more Black, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized voices disappear into the algorithm.

Check out the video below, where Penny, Parham, and Jacoby share their thoughts on the future of Black Twitter with PRIDE.

PRIDE Interviews 'Black Twitter: A People’s History' producers: The future of Black Twitter youtu.be