Tabitha Brown:  How Everyone is (Potentially) A Media Star

By Shlomo Maital    

    The immense harm done by Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, Instagram, Tik-Tok, and other social media is a proven fact. 

     A Sept. 14 story in Wall Street Journal by Georgia Wells, Jeff Horwitz and Deepa Seetharaman documents how Facebook’s Instagram knowingly was toxic for teenage girls – and Facebook persisted anyway.   There is a shocking plan to create an Instagram aimed at younger children.  Capitalism at its finest.

     But nonetheless, in some cases social media provide both opportunities for those otherwise denied them, and offer valuable information that changes lives for the good.  Take, for instance, Tabitha Brown.  She told her story on National Public Radio’s 1A program, hosted by WAMU’s Jenn White. 

      Brown tried and failed for years to  land a job as a TV actress, She spent five years working for Macy’s in Los Angeles.  Brown began bouncing between North Carolina and Los Angeles to care for her mother, who had Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),  a rare debilitating neurological disease affects nerve cells controlling movement.  She cared for her mother for three years.

    Following her mother’s death in 2007,   Brown landed small roles in several indie films.   She developed chronic pain and fatigue, undiagnosed,  and could not work for a year.  After her daughter suggested it,  Brown became vegan – and her symptoms disappeared.

        Brown was running out of money.  She became an Uber driver in October 2017.  She did a video review in December 2017 of a Whole Foods Market vegan BLT bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich.  It went viral. 

     Whole Foods then hired her as a brand ambassador to travel the country.

       In early March 2020, she created a TikTok account on which she began sharing vegan recipes, cooking tips, family moments, and encouraging advice, after her daughter suggested it. (At first, she was highly dubious about the idea).

        She quickly gained 2 million followers in the space of five weeks.  Brown’s content is upbeat, uplifting, loving, warm, human and empathic.  She is a media star.  She has won a coveted NAACP award, in 2021, as an outstanding media star, and has written and acted in numerous films. 

         Never before in history has it been possible for virtually any individual to create content and distribute it virally to millions, almost instantly.  Yes, the same technology that brings comfort to millions can bring them viral virulent toxic lies and hate.

      Perhaps that is the nature of technology.  People are both very good and very evil.  So is the technology they invent and employ.