Jaboukie Young-White is one of the most enigmatic and successful comedians in recent memory. He's only 24 years old, but has cultivated an avid fanbase that consumes everything he creates. What's more is that he's an actor and comedian who has been a correspondent for “The Daily Show” since 2018, and his Twitter account provides the world with endless entertainment.
Notorious for using his verified blue check to impersonate other accounts, Jaboukie's latest Twitter suspension came after he posted a tweet that said, “BREAKING: Joe Biden is not DEAD. He just getting some d***. We’ve all been there.” What made this tweet so effective was that he changed his display name and profile picture to resemble CNN, so it genuinely looked as though CNN posted this article.
This initial tweet was shared thousands of times on the internet and stripped Jaboukie of his verification check on Twitter. Afterwards, he made some incredibly self-aware comments about the process and symbolism of being verified by tweeting, “for a long time now the blue check mark on twitter has simply meant you know a lot of white people who live in new york." He further said the system of social media verification is elitist and favors rich white people who pick and choose who they wish to be elevated in society.
This is not the first time Jaboukie has been suspended or has impersonated another account for comedic effect. Some of his best tweets involve implementing a similar formula. He once impersonated the FBI and tweeted, “Just because we killed (Martin Luther King Jr.) MLK doesn’t mean we can’t miss him,” hilariously suggesting that the FBI helped to assassinate the civil rights leader. He also pretended to be Ted Cruz and jokingly asked if he resembled a character from "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre."
Many of his fans and supporters protested the suspension, which resulted in Jaboukie getting his account reinstated a day later. He is no longer verified, but he didn't allow that to change his character or personality. He later thanked his supporters for getting his account reinstated.
Jaboukie's tweets remind the avid Generation Z Twitter-user of content creators such as Jovan Hill, who has a similar ability to Jaboukie in creating viral tweets and iconic catchphrases. But, instead of becoming verified or reaching a similar stature of elevation, his accounts are constantly getting deleted due to trolls. Meanwhile, others such as racist Twitter personality Kaitlin Bennett and politicians who have been known to despise the LGBTQ+ community, continue to have a platform on Twitter without any repercussions.
Jaboukie’s tweets show that as a minority who is given a platform, he exists as a token for the media to elevate — only when he promotes their values or sacrifices a part of himself. As a Black and gay comedian who exists in a space that elevates Eurocentric values, his success and notoriety destroys the foundation that has built up many of the entertainment industry’s principles and key facets.
Jaboukie’s stature and fame provides a stark contrast to the average comedian and what the media presents to us on a daily basis. There are few black comedians on the late-night talk show circuit, and his presence provides a breath of fresh air from the mediocrity and whiteness which has always been what mainstream media showcases to society. By using his platform to his advantage, he provides a voice for minorities who are typically shut out of both verification and support from powerful people and organizations.
His tweets show he is incredibly aware of the nuances of the system that he takes part in, but he will not allow the status quo to dictate his character.