Underground Memory in the Digital World: YouTube, Instagram and the Social Construction of Black Streetlore

Langston Collin Wilkins (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Youtube and Instagram have become important repositories for preserving New York City’s African American streetlore of the 1980s and 1990s. There are numerous digital accounts dedicated to detailing stories from the New York City crack trade. This presentation will examine the nuances of digital-based street lore and consider its implications. I will ultimately engage three central questions: Why do these street figures continue to be prominent in Black working class cultural memory? How have YouTube and Instagram functioned as a spaces of preservation? How has the practice of social archiving impacted the lore?

Part of 07-07 Constructing Digital Identities, Saturday, November 04, 8:30 am–10:00 am