Arts & Culture News

How Dallas Influencers Are Responding to The Black Lives Matter Movement

Kameron Westcott posted a tone-deaf Instagram.
Charles Sykes/Bravo
Kameron Westcott posted a tone-deaf Instagram.

As the Black Lives Matter movement maintains its momentum with worldwide protests, people are looking to celebrities and influencers and anyone with any kind of platform to make a stand against racism and police violence. Not all of them seemed eager to take a stand.

While millions of people are protesting across the country, Kameron Westcott, a white cast member from The Real Housewives of Dallas, posted a photo of her on the beach over the weekend. It might be the perfect example of white privilege.

Westcott’s caption read, “I feel a little weird posting a pic tonight while I am on family vacation, but that is where I happen to be today. I hope justice is served, and everyone stays safe tonight. Better days are ahead for everyone! Sending love to EVERYONE tonight. No other words today, wishing everyone a great weekend.” It ended with a hashtag promoting RHOD.

When influencers may have been able to get by with broad blank statements of love and unity in the past, people are now calling for more.

“So tone deaf. Totally on brand for Kam,” one follower commented.

One day later, Westcott posted a TikTok to celebrate her wedding anniversary. Then on Tuesday, she posted a graphic with fingerprints of all colors and wrote that she is “speechless” about George Floyd’s death by a police officer.

“This is a nightmare I’m finding hard to accept is real,” part of the caption reads. “I am just a mother that happens to be on TV and have a platform, I am not a politician or an expert, that is why I try not to make comments on issues I don’t completely understand. I don’t want to believe our world, our people, are capable of such horrific acts of violence and hate, but enough is enough. I am working to become educated on these topics, as we all should be.”

An email to Westcott’s publicist went unanswered.

Rachel Lindsay, a Dallas native and the first black lead on The Bachelorette, wrote in a blog post that black people have been fighting for equality since 1619.

"We have been protesting peacefully for decades to no avail," the blog post reads. "We have protested in the most peaceful and respectful way such as simply taking a knee; and even that was heavily criticized. This is why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated that 'rioting is the language of the unheard.' We have not been seen. We have not been heard. We have not been valued. We have not been respected. We have not been treated equally."

Lindsay wrote that being an influencer is a "privilege."

"Being labeled an influencer is not about taking pretty pictures, developing an aesthetically pleasing feed, or selling products," Lindsay writes in email to the Observer. "Being an influencer means you have the power to affect others because of you authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with your audience. With power comes responsibility. We are given these platforms for a reason. It is our duty to use our voice to influence those in times such as these. I do not see it as a burden. It is a privilege."

Ohavia Phillips, a black talk show host on The Oh Show, posted a video on Instagram's app IGTV on Sunday calling influencers out for posting photo shoots and ads while the world around them is in turmoil.

“Influencers, we need you,” she says in the video. “People with platforms and numbers, we need you. We need you now more than ever to step up and say something and there’s a lot of people’s favorites not saying nothing and it’s not sitting well with me. It’s not.”

On May 31, the social media accounts for Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team, a reality show on CMT, posted in support of Black Lives Matter. Several cheerleaders who just completed their first year on the team posted a black square for #blackouttuesday, including Kat Puryear, the only black rookie on the 2019-2020 team. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders organization has yet to post a statement. One commenter wrote on DCC’s latest Instagram post, “DCC, your reality show just shared a powerful statement supporting black lives. Where’s your statement?” Pro Cheerleading Podcast's Instagram posted that the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and 11 other NFL cheering squads had yet to post in support of BLM.

On June 1, the Dallas Cowboys’ Twitter account posted about its special teams unit. One Twitter user responded, “Are you just going to ignore what is going on in your city, state and country? I love my team but come on, don’t turn a blind eye to the injustices that your players support/have experienced and show some damn support!” It might not come as a shock, considering Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, has said in the past that any Cowboys player who kneels during the National Anthem won’t play. He did kneel with players once in 2017. Charlotte Jones Anderson, executive vice president and chief brand officer, and Jerry's daughter, posted a black square for #blackouttuesday.

The Cowboys did not respond to a request for comment.

Nyma Tang, a black beauty YouTuber from Dallas widely known for her dark foundation reviews, posted on her Instagram on Tuesday, "Still black and still tired!!!"

"This isn't a moment for black people, it's our life," the caption reads. "This fight continues. To our allies, continue to educate yourself and learn how you can help us make actual change."

She also posted a photo of some of the last words of murdered black people, like "I can't breathe" from George Floyd and "Please don't let me die" from Kimani Gray.

Elena Davies, a white Fort Worth resident and alumna of CBS’s Big Brother, went live on Instagram on Monday for more than two hours to talk about the world’s state.

“It’s really hard to have an influence and want to do the right thing but be so afraid that I’m not going to do it the way I should,” she says in the video posted on her Instagram. “And I’ve been trying to read as much and learn as much and expose myself to so much content so that I can figure out the best way to say things.”

She admits she’s gotten it wrong before but wants to listen to her black followers on how she can use her voice to help.

“If we want to see the end of injustice toward black people, we need to first listen and learn and then speak up with them,” Davies tells us. “Not doing that is dangerous in ways that could manifest physically later, like another innocent black life lost. Only good can come from educating ourselves and vocalizing support for the black community. I have never taken my job more seriously than I am right now.”