My Internet: Tirhakah Love
The Dinner Party writer follows the freaks on TikTok.
Every Friday, we quiz a “very online” person for their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Tirhakah Love, who writes New York magazine’s daily evening newsletter, Dinner Party, “where they pay me to cut up about all the absurdity of our world on the regular. It’s free and I promise it’s worth every penny.” (Sample introduction: “Just a friendly reminder that Chuck E. Cheese’s real name is Charles Entertainment Cheese, which, if we’re being honest, is just another reminder of how one’s labor can become their full identity. Free Charles Entertainment Cheese; his lifelong exploitation can no longer go ignored!”)
Tirhakah seeks out weird and terrifying news on Reddit, plays Bejeweled pretty much all day, and uses Instagram for its intended purpose (to crush on people and feel terrible about all the fun other folks are having). —Nick
EMBEDDED: What types of videos do you watch on YouTube?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: YouTube is probably one of my favorite websites on the internet. Still! I love all manner of creators there, but I largely follow gaming (from profiles like gameranx and SkillUp to, of course, IGN), tons of NBA podcasts and video essays, hair, skin and makeup tutorials, anime compilations, creepy deep dives into nostalgic americana. Like there’s this one channel I follow that just traverses old shopping malls and when I tell you that shit is like, somehow, peacefully dystopian; I don’t know, it just makes me feel comforted.
EMBEDDED: Do you use TikTok? What shows up on your For You page?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: I’m a recent TikTok convert. It took me a while there for sure but now I’m on it pretty much every day. My For You page is mostly young Black queer people cracking jokes, a bunch of voguing and dance highlights, definitely a lot of nerdy shit—anime and gaming comedy, that kinda thing—and of course I love following the freaks. Strippers, dancers, adult film stars, their jokes are funny as hell. But yeah TikTok is all about funny shit to me.
EMBEDDED: What do you use Instagram for?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: Mostly to crush on people and feel terrible about myself for all the fun other folks are having. Basically, it’s intended purpose.
EMBEDDED: Do you tweet? Why?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: I tweet, absolutely. I tweet partially for work, ya know, being in media and shit it kinda feels like I have to. But my Twitter has never been like “professional” or branded. It’s just me so there’s a lot of silliness mixed in, a lot of jokes, and a cute insight here or there. Every so often I like pivoting to stupid on Twitter and that means not tweeting about anything serious or tryna get too deep on any one thing. But yeah, I take a lot of breaks from Twitter because sometimes it’s hard to hear my own thoughts. Gotta escape the hellscape every so often.
EMBEDDED: Who’s the coolest person who follows you?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: Definitely Isaiah Rashad. Probably my favorite rapper and one I relate the most to. The day he followed me, I damn near passed out.
EMBEDDED: Who’s someone more people should follow?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: I enjoy Big Wos. He’s nominally an NBA commentator/podcaster, having previously worked at The Athletic. Now he’s at The Ringer and so he’s doing podcasts, in addition to YouTube videos on NBA fashion that I keep up with every week. He just sees the game in its entirety and he’s versatile enough to do the statistical analysis, the insider-y NBA stuff, and also take apart the game on a level of aesthetics—which I think is pretty rare. But even more so, he’s a budding socialist and his podcast Woke Bros routinely gets into shit that I think is important using language that’s accessible to people like me.
EMBEDDED: Which big celebrity has your favorite internet presence, and why?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: I love Doja and I worry about her for a lot of reasons, mainly her health and schedule. But I think my favorite internet presence is probably Saucy Santana. He’s just too funny and really talented. I can’t wait to see what he does.
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EMBEDDED: What does “cancel culture” mean to you?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: Only thing that “cancel culture” connotes is just how utterly terrified famous people are of accountability and irrelevance. Which, I’m gonna be honest, doesn’t really have too much to do with me. I’m not in community with those people so it doesn’t mean much. I don’t think about it.
EMBEDDED: Have you ever been heavily into Snapchat? Around what age?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: Never heavily, nah. I had Snapchat like around 2014 I wanna say? So I was in my early 20s. I didn’t use it very much so when Rihanna told us to delete it after they made fun of her being abused by Chris Brown it was pretty much a wrap for me.
EMBEDDED: Are you nostalgic for Vine or Tumblr? Why?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: Not really, no. I did love Tumblr a lot as a teenager and young adult. I learned so much about so many things on that website. I learned about queerness both in the abstract and within myself, learned how to sorta tap into my freakier side, and developed an appreciation for certain kinds of African aesthetic that I hadn’t really gotten anywhere else. But I’m not a terribly nostalgic person in general. Everything—especially on the Internet—has its time. I’m not someone who misses the old days too much. It’s not like Tumblr is dead though, it’s just changed a lot. Vine was hilarious and I have a lot of respect for those creators because they got paid absolute dust back then, but we do have TikTok and you can pretty much find most of the popular Vines on there if you look hard enough.
EMBEDDED: Are you in any groups on Reddit, Slack, Discord, or Facebook? What's the most useful or entertaining one?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: I’m in a couple Reddit groups, mostly they’re about shows I’m watching or games I’m playing. The most useful ones are probably those that follow weird or terrifying news though. The stuff that mainstream outlets hardly push because they’re super local or just altogether too strange. I love that stuff and it helps with the newsletter quite a bit.
EMBEDDED: Are you playing any games right now?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: Like the rest of the world, I’m getting my ass handed to me in Elden Ring right now. I’m about 150 hours in and nowhere near being done with it.
EMBEDDED: What’s something you might want to do in the metaverse? What’s something you wouldn't want to do?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: It depends on what we mean by the metaverse. Because for me, like, Second Life is the metaverse. The Sims is the metaverse. Shit, Roblox and Minecraft are the metaverse. Whatever Meta’s got cookin up is just a rehash of like 90s era mall and 80s era office space and I’m sorry that shit is just boring to me. Finding new virtual spaces to shop or work isn’t all that exciting. I’m most interested in what gaming companies like Sony—who just made a deal with Lego and Epic Games for like $2 billion—will do since they have the most experience in VR worldbuilding. But even then, if it’s just a way for us to spend money and not actually have fun then it’s gonna be wack to me. I’m also very curious about fashion in the metaverse because digital designers have been doing work for many years. I wonder how it’ll play out for them. If Meta’s marketplace is any indication, it’s not going great so far but I know things will change. The digital and the real are speaking to one another in a much more intimate way so I do wonder about the reciprocal relationship. Like, how will digital design impact how we clothe ourselves in reality? I hope things get real weird.
EMBEDDED: What purpose do you see in NFTs?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: A fun way for the wealthy and wealthy-aspirants to frivolously blow cash.
EMBEDDED: Do you think Web3 will mean a better internet?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: I don’t think any one system can make the internet better. We create the internet so our culture has to undo a lot of bullshit for the internet to be a more equal, inclusive, and less toxic space. I don’t think Web3 accomplishes that. It just feels like any other heavily hyped messaging of “the democratization of the internet” and I’m sorry I just don’t believe it. We haven’t even figured out how to properly democratize people.
EMBEDDED: Do you text people voice notes? If not, how do you feel about getting them?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: I’m super into voice notes. Very, very much so. They’re fast and usually a lot funnier than texts. Breezier than a phone call. They remind me of walkie-talkies. My older brother and I used to love that shit when we were kids.
EMBEDDED: Do any of your group chats have a name that you're willing to share? What's something that recently inspired debate in the chat?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: I have a couple group chats, one is called “the trinity” which was made after two of my friends watched the most recent Matrix movie and wanted to discuss. And then the other one is called “real nigga roll call” because we realized the massive dearth of real N-words in our industry.
EMBEDDED: If you could only keep Netflix, Disney, HBO Max, or one other streaming service, which would it be, and why?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: It’s HBO Max because they always drop something intriguing just after I finished something else that I liked a lot. Like I remember when the miniseries Chernobyl came out because I was literally about to cancel my subscription after being pissed about Game of Thrones, but then that shit dropped and I was like ALRIGHT HBO, FINE. That happens all the time.
EMBEDDED: What’s your favorite non-social media app?
TIRHAKAH LOVE: It’s cheating a little bit because it’s a game but I play Bejeweled pretty much all day now. It’s very sick and also very geriatric of me but that’s my shit. It’s super calming and lowkey pretty strategic.
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