By B. Venkat Mani, TELOS
On February 2, the second day of Black History Month, a tweet from a Black woman in the United States unleashed a war of words in India, with global resonance. Rihanna, the Barbados-born U.S. singer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and cultural activist posted a one-liner: “why aren’t we talking about this?!” with the hashtag #FarmersProtest and a link to a report about the government of India shutting down internet services in areas bordering the national capital, New Delhi, where farmers have been carrying out a movement to oppose three contentious farm laws.
Rihanna’s tweet went viral. The climate activist Greta Thunberg, Hollywood actor John Cusack, U.S.-based lawyer and supporter of Black Lives Matter Meena Harris, former adult star Mia Khalifa, Instagram influencer Amanda Cerny, R&B singer Jay Sean, and music composer Dr. Zeus all expressed support for the Indian farmers’ protests in their own independent tweets. Kisan Ekta Morcha, the official Twitter account of the United Farmers’ Front, thanked Rihanna for her support of the movement, and countless Indians praised her for drawing international attention to the movement.