'Gen Z Historian' Kahlil Greene Uses TikTok To Combat Whitewashed Depictions Of Black History
Whether he's discussing Black history, AAVE, gatekeeping or how different celebrities engage in cultural appropriation, Kahlil Greene is using his TikTok to set the record straight.
by Nick Fenley
August 19, 2022 at 10:42 pm
Kahlil Greene, Yale’s first-ever Black student body president, is on a mission to use TikTok in the name of educating the masses on real Black history and the impact of Black culture.
Greene’s first TikTok on the subject came in January 2021, and it kicked off a series focused on sharing “non-whitewashed” quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
@kahlilgreene Comment your favorite MLK quotes #mlk #mlkday #mlkday2021 #blm #politics inspired by @bobacommie ♬ Glory (From the Motion Picture Selma) – Common & John Legend
“I noticed the intense amount of whitewashing that happens on MLK Day and felt I had to do something about it,” he explained of the inspiration behind the video, according to Insider. “The only quotes from MLK in the mainstream or on social media are super positive, super optimistic, and don’t mention anything about race or class or any of the other things MLK fought for.”
The Ivy League alum proceeded to upload a plethora of other TikToks exploring various aspects of MLK, including a video on the FBI’s alleged conspiracy against him, before starting another popular series: “Hidden History.”
@kahlilgreene Tag someone who doesn’t know this! #salemwitchtrials #hiddenhistory #americanhistory ♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose
@kahlilgreene Black boys fought until only one was left standing #blackhistory #hiddenhistory #americanhistory #makeblackhistory ♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose
@kahlilgreene The greatest showman … okay 🤔 #hiddenhistory #americanhistory #blackhistory #historytok ♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose
Aside from his Black history videos, Greene also makes a point to bring viewers up to speed on subjects like critical race theory and the use of “BIPOC” over “person of color (POC).”
@kahlilgreene Know thine enemy Pt 1 – Christopher Rufo and Critical Race Theory #hiddenhistory #blackcommunitytiktok #bipoc ♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose
@kahlilgreene What is BIPOC? Comment ur thoughts 👇🏾! #bipoc #blackcommunitytiktok #blm #hiddenhistory ♬ original sound – Gen Z Historian
Of course, the issues of cultural appropriation, gatekeeping and the promotion of stereotypes come up, too.
@kahlilgreene U shoulda left this in the drafts #culturalappropriation #aave #hiddenhistory #blackhistorymonth ♬ original sound – Gen Z Historian
@kahlilgreene Replying to @Gen Z Historian What is gatekeeping? Do you agree with this? #gatekeeping #hiddenhistory #culturalappropriation #blackculture #aave ♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose
Even the Obamas were subject to analysis, as Greene made videos discussing how both Barack and Michelle Obama “promoted stereotypes” during their time in the political limelight.
@kahlilgreene Reply to @abbyhahahahahaha Obama is known for promoting stereotypes about other Black people #hiddenhistory #blackhistory #blm #blacktok #obama ♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose
@kahlilgreene Reply to @hizzlle we all love Michelle Obama but she did this too lowkey #hiddenhistory #makeblackhistory #blm #blacktok ♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose
Greene is also sure to give Black content creators their props, as he has a series called “How Everything on this App Originated with Black People.”
“So much of what society thinks of as ‘cool’ originates from African American culture,” Greene said of the matter, Insider reports. “I hope to raise awareness of this and help give people the credit they deserve.”
He notably made similar comments during an interview with Forbes, explaining the “social currency” that Black culture provides.
“When it comes to social media, social currency becomes literal currency. Clout equals profits, and a lot of ways that creators, especially non-black creators gain this clout is by taking elements or cultural contributions from the Black community, performing them to a majority non-black audience, and getting fame, clout, and profits for it,” Greene said, the outlet reports.
Shoutout to Greene for using his platform to educate the masses and set the record straight