Update: October 15, 2020 - Introducing the Contemporary Lit tag
Today, we're introducing a new change on Wattpad by replacing the Urban tag, featured on our "Browse tags" screen with Contemporary Lit, searchable on Wattpad as #contemporarylit. This is an important step in preventing the reinforcement of stereotypes and marginalization of talented Black writers within the Wattpad community. The term Urban, commonly used to refer to African-Americans, and represent African-American books, music, and movies, originates from a problematic historical context—when 'Urban' was considered synonymous with poor or dangerous.
Over time, this turned into a blanket approach of referring to the work of Black writers and musicians, regardless of whether or not the genre they work within has anything to do with city life. This generalization and type-casting fails to capture and celebrate the diversity of the Black community's work.
We have arrived at the term Contemporary Lit as a way for Black writers to represent their contemporary stories after a thoughtful period of consultation with Black writers, subject experts from BLM Canada, and the Wattpad community. This new term denotes a time period without "othering" the content.
Going forward, our "Browse tags" screen will feature Contemporary Lit instead of Urban. This change will only take effect for the English language. Writers who support this change are welcome to modify their stories tagged Urban to Contemporary Lit if they wish to do so. "Urban" will remain searchable on Wattpad for readers and writers who prefer to continue using it. This is a small step from us to end our implicit endorsement of the term.
Check out Frequently Asked Questions about this change here.
June 3, 2020 - Black Lives Matter
Dear Wattpadders -
Right now, a chapter of history is being written. We've been thinking a lot about this chapter, how will it end, and what our role will be in it. What is certain is that we want an ending where white supremacy is dismantled and the Black community is liberated from violence and racial injustice.
But to write that chapter, we need action. Today we're donating $50,000 to support Black Youth Helpline, Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defense Initiative, Bail Out Project, and NAACP. And because Black Lives Matter to all of us at Wattpad, we're matching every employee donation up to an additional $25,000.
On Friday, June 5, out of solidarity with Black communities everywhere, we are closing our offices around the world. We want our teams to have the time and space to comfort friends and loved ones, and to educate themselves about the systemic racism that oppresses marginalized communities
Above that, we will use our platform — one that's a privilege to have, and a responsibility to use — to uplift organizations on the frontlines of this fight. That's why we will use our ad space to raise awareness for, and prompt donations to, the organizations listed above.
To our Black community: we promise to keep putting our words into action, by listening to your voices and raising them up. You will always have a home on Wattpad.
To all others: Actively #CelebrateBlackWriters, today and everyday. We've curated a #CelebrateBlackWriters Reading List here on Wattpad. Below, you'll find a collection of educational resources on allyship, anti-racism, and more.
Books to Read:
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin J. DiAngelo
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Habits of Whiteness: A Pragmatist Reconstruction by Terrance MacMullan
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit From Identity Politics by George Lipsitz
Racism Without Racists by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Here is a list of Black-owned bookstores to purchases these books from.
Articles to Read:
Things to Listen / Watch:
Listen: 1619 podcast
- The team at Wattpad HQ