Pop Culture’s Great Awokening
The term she grabbed onto was one that had been around for a while, and had made its way from black culture to the New York Times. “Woke,” for Perry’s purposes, seemed to mean something along the lines of sensitive
to the experiences of racial, cultural, sexual, and gender identities
besides one’s own, and attuned to the injustices that shape our world;
for different speakers, at different times, it had served variously as a
statement of purpose (“I stay woke,” Erykah Badu sang in 2008), a term
of approval (“Can We Talk About How Woke Matt McGorry Was in 2015?”), and one of knowing skepticism (“World Weeps in Gratitude for Woke Hungarian Who Did 7 Types of Blackface to Save Africa From Going Extinct”).