I have a very strong love-hate relationship with Twitter, but one thing the bird app has done for me consistently and without fail is make me laugh. I’m talking that hearty laughter, too, where your abs hurt, you get a little lightheaded, and you gotta move around, do a quick little jog or something. Some moments have translated into my everyday speech. I might randomly tell somebody in real life that I’m “not going to pandemic I’m going to Boosie house.” Doesn’t matter if they get the joke or not and God bless the folks who aren't online enough to know what the hell that means. Same goes for an arbitrary reference to the greatest tweet of all time, that one about being in racial chat rooms showing feet.
Twitter—particularly Black Twitter—has given us plenty of viral moments that honestly rival the most memorable scenes in Friday, Martin, and Coming to America. Remember when that hotep said Black people were going to get superpowers on December 21, 2020? I’m still waiting on my ability to teleport. How about the “meet me in Temecula” episode? The Zola thread got adapted into a movie and, turns out, most of the insane stuff in it was actually true. Recently, the Black and Irish delegations aligned and smoked on that Queen Elizabeth pack, giving us another classic.
Still, none of the aforementioned epicness compares to the funniest night in Twitter’s history: when Yahoo Finance posted a tweet with a critical typo.
Back in 2017, Yahoo wanted to post a link to a story about Trump wanting a bigger navy, but to the right of the “B” on a QWERTY keyboard is the letter “N.” As one may do late at night without double checking your work or having copy editors on staff, “bigger” turned into “n*gger.” The result: People joking that battleships would get pulled over by cops. One man tweeted a photo of an S.S. Deadass, where the boat was actually a big-ass Timb. Someone said there’d be a ship called the U.S.S.H.E.R. They were even making jokes about “Knuck If You Buck” becoming a call and response: A general yells out “Knuck” and seamen respond in unison, “If you buck, sir!”
In the face of a major corporation tweeting out a racial slur, Black people turned it into a roast so severe it reached Jamie Foxx's “I am your conscience” levels. The tweet was an honest (albeit very stupid) mistake and shouldn’t have really upset anyone, but the reaction is a testament to how Black folks have been using humor as a survival tactic for centuries. It’s a reflex. So while Elon Musk destroys the social media platform at a rapid pace and gives Succession writers free material, we bask in the reverie #niggernavy once gave us. If it dies, it dies—but at least we had a laugh.