Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Brad Olson

Second Advisor

Dr. Ericka Mingo


The City of Chicago has always been known for its violence and high crime rates. Traditional media has portrayed Chicago as a war zone in terrifying headlines and news stories. While traditional media has portrayed a distorted view of senseless murders and gang violence in Black Chicago communities, residents of these communities have used social media to tell their deepest truths. The existence of social media platforms has provided an outlet for Black Chicago residents to show their daily realities to connect with others. Community members upload or share violent viral media as a way of expressing their environment, their daily frustrations, and entertainment. The qualitative data for this study suggests that violent viral media is used as an escape route, a way to gain influence, and a way to inform and make others aware of their own terms and conditions. This study led to the understanding of how violent viral media changes the lens of Black Chicago communities on social media platforms, and the positive and negative impact it has on community members.