Question the Narrative | Gabriel Fajobi

Could Black Lives Matter be more successful with a more inclusive identity?

The purpose of question the narrative project is to create a conversation surrounding the structure, leadership, and identity of Black Lives Matter, with the goal of encouraging a more inclusive identity that will be more successful as the movement and organization continue to develop. After the murder of George Floyd the Movement and organization reached new heights in participation and activism, however, unfortunately BLM was met with a heavily negative response and support numbers have fallen sharply since. BLM participants must ask themselves; why would this be and how can we create a better connection with mainstream audiences.

The section above comes from the publication I created as a final outcome for this project. It was necessary for me to comment on the violent perception that surrounds the Black Lives Matter organization and movement. Using an infographic visualization helps the audience understand the significance of this issue, comprehend how many individuals have been arrested because of it, and encourages them to consider deeply the impact it is having. Using arrest statistics juxtaposed with demonstration statistics clarifies what is happening and creates emphasis surrounding the seriousness of this cause and effect pattern being perpetuated.

Other spreads from this publication take a similar approach to address the issues Black Lives Matter is facing. In it, I cover counter-protest, police brutality, important media voices, and political divisiveness. I also include spreads consisting of text alone that dive deeper into the academic topics that inspired the previously mentioned infographic spreads; these include narrative control, social identities, and social leadership. Creating an understanding of each of these topics is essential to accomplishing this project’s goal, which is to encourage BLM supporters to question their actions and the narrative being established about the movement and organization, and how these contribute towards BLM’s goals of equality and fairness.

My process began by exploring previous movement organizations’ tactics, language, and appearance/visual identity to learn what made significant contributions towards their success over time. This information was combined with social identity research to better understand how BLM could be more effective at connecting with their audience. The lenses I used were historical activism, marketing communication, and anthropology. The combination of these lenses allowed me to establish the necessary connections observed throughout BLM’s activity and notoriety to draw conclusions revealing what could be done to benefit the movement and organization.