Talented comedic actress Leslie Jones has continued to excel in the face of Internet trolls who recently attempted to diminish her shine, but activist Blake Simmons says it’s important that Black men are also a main source of public support for Leslie and all Black women in times of need.
Well aware of the power of social media and how it can be used to take strong public stances, Simmons created the #BlackMenSupportLeslie hashtag to encourage his fellow men to show their support for Leslie as she deals with the aftermath of hackers recently targeting her personal information and private photos. Journalist and news correspondent Jacque Reid caught up with Simmons earlier this week to get some insight into his decision to start the hashtag and the message behind it.
Speaking on how the idea to start the hashtag came about, Simmons says it began with a single tweet. “I just saw all of the hate that was being shown towards Leslie and I know, myself, I was like, “how can I try and be there for her as a Black man to show support and show solidarity?” So, I first just tweeted, ‘Leslie Jones I love you and I support you. Sincerely, A Black man.’ Then I had this idea to create a hashtag for other Black men to show up and support and be in solidarity with Leslie and just show that we’re there for her and that when something happens to a Black woman, we’re gonna stand up for her just like she would stand up if something happens to us.”
Simmons says the response to the hashtag has been mostly positive. He was glad to be a part of strirring the conversation about unity within the Black Lives Matter movement. “Within the Black activist Twitter [community], there was a lot of good responses,” he said. “It was great to see so many Black women [see] this hashtag that kind of read like a love letter from Black men to Black women. So, just building support between us in this Black Lives Matter movement, because it’s gonna take all of us to be free if we’re all gonna be free.”
Simmons also opened up about the importance of seeing more Black men use their privilege in society to help protect Black women and shared details about his own journey to better understand the struggles of Black women through simple conversation with some of the women in his circle. Hear more from his conversation with Jacque here.