The truth behind Twitter's 'Stay Woke' t-shirts which Elon Musk finds so funny

The truth behind Twitter's 'Stay Woke' t-shirts which Elon Musk finds so funny
Elon Musk wants all Twitter employees to email him with a weekly …

Elon Musk is busy at the moment running Twitter into the ground, but he’s found a moment to distract himself after discovering some old T-shirts.

The Tesla CEO and new owner of the social media site found a bunch of shirts featuring the hashtag “stay woke” and seemed to find the whole thing very funny.

“Found in closet at Twitter HQ fr,” he wrote, adding two laughing crying emojis.

The short clip shows Musk holding up a shirt, with the camera showing dozens more folded up inside a cupboard.

Sign up for our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

The post has racked up more than 350,000 likes, and Musk was clearly very amused with the find.

But what’s the history behind the T-shirts?

As it turns out they originate from 2016, during Jack Dorsey’s time in charge of the site.

He even wore the shirt during an appearance at a Code Conference that year, with the conference coming at a time of great change and as part of a heightened political climate.

The term ‘woke’ has been around for decades, but it came to most people’s attention around that time. Woke – essentially meaning being aware of the world around you – came to greater significance in reaction to the populist wave ridden by Donald Trump in the US as well as the Brexit vote in the UK.

There were also more specific incidents which took place that year including the Michigan water crisis, which disproportionately affected Black Americans, and the killing of Freddie Gray by the Baltimore Police which led to widespread protests – a precursor to the Black Lives Matter movement a few years later.

While Dorsey wore the shirt himself, it’s not quite clear why there is still a cupboard full of them at Twitter HQ in San Francisco six years later - and we're not sure why Musk is so taken with them.

It comes after a large amount of staff members have quit Twitter after Musk gave them an ultimatum of either leaving or doing "long hours at high intensity" work.

Musk also reportedly told staff that they would need to comply with his new "extremely hardcore" work ethic or leave – emailing Twitter staff with his six key suggestions to improving productivity.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)