Black Celebrity Gossip Websites
(image via Vice Magazine.)
I stumbled upon celebrity gossip community “Oh No They Didn’t” in 2007. I was bored, working a part-time job as a receptionist at a real-estate agency, and Britney Spears had just shaved her head. Things were pretty slow that day, so I was basically glued to the computer screen, hitting refresh over and over, sending links to my coworker in the other room. We could hear each other laughing and screeching over this ridiculous piece of celebrity news history.
Little did I know, that the community I had just discovered, which was brimming with delicious snark, had actually been founded by three quirky black teenagers, who originally intended the community to be a safe-space for internet users of colors to kick back and gossip.
Apparently the 2007 version of “Oh No They Didn’t”, the one got me through many a slow, boring day behind that desk, was actually a sanitized, shell of what the site once was.
According to a in Vice magazine, “Oh No They Didn’t” was started in 2004 by 3 teenagers, Erin Lang, Bri Draffen, and Breniecia Reuben. Lang, who describes herself as “obsessed with pop culture, ” started using Live Journal to gossip about celebrities in 2004, at the age of 17. The community grew and Lang began to add more mods and maintainers to the group. After a series of life events, mainly the death of her mother in 2004, Lang found it hard to keep up with the site. Eventually she was pushed out.
She made a surprise appearance in July of this year, on “Oh No They Didn’t”, randomly in a thread, and left a cryptic message. The message sparked the interests of the newer users who weren’t aware of the gossip community’s history.
The site has experienced many ups and downs since its early days, ranging from being namechecked by Lady Gaga and Oprah, to bringing enough traffic during major celebrity scandals to actually crash Live Journal’s servers, to even a few nude photo scandals and conflicts over monetization. Today, Erin Lang lives in New York City. She is an aspiring actress and writer. Lang definitely has regrets over not monetizing the site when she had control over it. There is still no word on whether or not she plans to sue.
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