Tech in the News: How YouTube Reaction Videos Are Changing the Way We Listen

Andre Brock

Posted August 24, 2020

External Article: Rolling Stone

André Brock, associate professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, was interviewed for the article "How YouTube Reaction Videos Are Changing the Way We Listen," published August 24 in Rolling Stone. 

In the article, author Jonathan Bernstein explores the subgenre of reaction videos in which creators who are often young Black people react to classic rock hits from the 1970s and 1980s. Brock, whose research and scholarship at Georgia Tech focuses in part on how Black communities are formed and function on the internet, spoke about the meaning and cultural implications of the trend.


“The internet, particularly YouTube, allows young black folks to rediscover music on their own terms,” says André Brock, a professor at Georgia Tech, whose book Distributed Blackness centers blackness in internet culture. “But it also allows them to rediscover a joy in music that wasn’t necessarily labeled as for them or which they understood to not be for them.”


For some, that implied genre commentary is as much of a draw as the reactions themselves. “Reaction videos are really interesting to me because they tap into the archival capacity of the internet,” says professor Brock. “When I was growing up in the Seventies, a lot of the songs these kids are hearing now were on black radio. Black radio stations played Steely Dan, Hall and Oates, Fleetwood Mac. We move into the Eighties, Phil Collins, Chicago, and Toto were still all over black radio. So, in some ways, the internet is allowing this revisiting of an earlier generation where music genres weren’t as segregated as they are now.” 

Read the full article here.