I wrote about #BlackHolesAndRevelations which was to be the final #DoctorWhoLockdown tweetalong, and how those episodes were a poor choice for a community watch (in general, but especially) given the present circumstances. Later that same day, Emily Cook, who organized the events, issued the following statement.
I appreciate that we were listened to, and thank Emily for this decision. I also want to personally thank everyone who read and shared the article, and who used their voices to support me, and other Black Whovians.
Before the cancellation of the official tweet-along, we organized an alternate #DoctorWhoBlackout and that is still happening! We hope you’ll join us! Read below for more information.
FAQs about #DoctorWhoBlackout
Is #DoctorWhoBlackout a response to the planned tweet-along of World Enough and Time and The Doctor Falls?
Why yes, it is! We know that #BlackHolesandRevelations (also: YIKES) was cancelled after our event was created, but its purpose remains the same. The main goal of #DoctorWhoBlackout is to create a safe space for Black fans of Doctor Who that would be inclusive for all to enjoy a live-tweet of the show. There is a lot of heaviness in the news right now and people are looking for avenues to maintain joy and optimism. #DoctorWhoBlackout will be a space to watch fun, entertaining episodes that don’t contain trauma that mirrors real-life experiences. Above all, we hope the live-tweet helps fans who feel isolated and unheard find their Who family and know that their voice matters.
How is this an event that also supports Black Lives Matter?
During the livetweet, we’re encouraging participating fans to amplify a BLM org or cause. (Here’s a great resource list if you don’t know where to start). For example: a fan could make a donation to Campaign Zero and tweet a screenshot of their receipt with a link using the #DoctorWhoBlackout. Alternatively, a fan could share informational resources or signal boost local grassroots organization working against police brutality and for racial justice; fans could post phone numbers to contact local government officials to lobby for change; or a fan can lift up and amplify Black-owned businesses, artists, and voices. All while using #DoctorWhoBlackout so that Doctor Who fans are sharing these resources with each other as a community.
You could’ve just watched something else; why do this if the show is so “white” and “racist”?
We can love a show and think about it critically. One thing that is problematic about race in Doctor Who now is that the show is from the white perspective, but seems disinterested in interrogating how that functionally plays out for POC characters in the show (e.g., Bill’s death). Marginalized folks should not have to defend creating a space for POC fans to join in on the tweetalongs, rather white fans should interrogate why an alternative needed to be arranged. #DoctorWhoBlackout is about celebrating the unique fandom that comes from finding connections over shared interests and shared life experiences. That doesn’t mean that you have to share these identities to join in; it’s an invitation to believe that the show is bigger on the inside.
Do you think they’ll reschedule the WEAT/DF tweetalong?
We hope not. Nicole’s already explained why. Black and non-Black PoC fans said why three years ago. We’ve continued to say it. It’s time to listen.
Why not do [insert alternate tv show/episode title here]?
We chose episodes that first and foremost, we wanted to rewatch together as a community. We also think that these episodes showcase how important it is to celebrate the contributions of Black artists in a show that most fans aren’t aware of or don’t appreciate.
But what happens to Bill isn’t about her color/stop politicizing Doctor Who/stop making everything about race!
Because Bill is the only queer, Black companion in the show’s entire 57 year run, her story arc is intrinsically tied to both her Blackness and her queerness. As POC fans, we believe the Doctor would be on the front lines, standing on the side of the protesters and protecting them from a fascist, authoritarian state. They would do it all with some pretty quippy one liners to keep our spirits up. We think this because the Doctor believes that there isn’t a SINGLE PERSON who isn’t important – that includes the millions of Black people on this Earth. They would absolutely support what is right, decent, and kind. And, the right, decent, and kind thing to do is dismantle anything that systematically oppresses an entire group of people.
But Bill triumphs/that’s not what the episode is about/it’s a showcase for Bill