Emma Watson has said that she “needs to work harder” following backlash to her participation in the Blackout Tuesday protests.
The Little Women actor was criticised after posting a black square to her Instagram. The trend, originally designed to amplify black voices, split opinion, with some critics claiming that important hashtags, including #BlackLivesMatter, were being dominated by images of black boxes rather than important and relevant information.
“Yes queen give us nothing,” wrote one follower, while others urged Watson to donate money and share links instead of a black box. “Girl I know that Little Women cheque hit,” wrote another. “Open your purse.”
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Watson’s followers also noticed that she had placed a white border around her black square, replicating her normal Instagram aesthetic. “black lives matter is not an aesthetic for your instagram,” wrote one person.
Four hours after her initial black box post, Watson shared a poem and artwork by scholar Dr Fahamu Pecou, writing that she had “held off posting until #blackouttuesday ended in the UK”.
In another post, Watson appeared to respond to criticism of her black box.
“There is so much racism, both in our past and present, that is not acknowledged nor accounted for,” Watson wrote. “White supremacy is one of the systems of hierarchy and dominance, of exploitation and oppression, that is tightly stitched into society.”
She continued: “As a white person, I have benefited from this. While we might feel that, as individuals, we’re working hard internally to be anti-racist, we need to work harder externally to actively tackle the structural and institutional racism around us. I’m still learning about the many ways I unconsciously support and uphold a system that is structurally racist.”
Watson also pledged to share links and resources she had found “useful for my own researching, learning and listening” in the coming days, adding: “I see your anger, sadness and pain. I cannot know what this feels like for you but it doesn’t mean I won’t try to.”
A number of stars have been criticised for their responses to the wave of protest against police brutality and institutional racism in recent days.
Ellen DeGeneres deleted a tweet condemned for being “vague and saying nothing”. Lana Del Rey was also urged to take down a video posted to her social media which showed the faces of protesters.