or negative squared Latin capital letter B emoji or B button emoji [neg-uh-tiv skwaird lat-n kap-i-tl let-er bee ih-moh-jee]
What does 🅱️ mean?
The negative squared Latin capital letter B emoji, 🅱️, (that's a mouthful) has come a long away from its intended meaning.
It began as a way to represent the blood type B, evolved into a way to signal the Bloods online, and was finally appropriated by internet culture for absurdist or racist memes.
Some people use it more innocuously just as a creative stand in for the letter B in texts or on social media.
Where does come from?
The Unicode Standard officially calls 🅱️ the negative squared Latin capital letter B emoji, but it’s commonly referred to as the B button emoji, a much more convenient name … because seriously that’s a long name.
B button emoji was approved under Unicode 6.0 in 2010. Across platforms, it appears as a white, capital letter B on a red square. It was originally intended to represent the blood type B alongside A (🅰️), AB (🆎), and O (🅾️) because you totally need to represent your blood type in emoji form all the time, right?
Want to know a blood type fun fact?
In East Asian countries like Japan, there is a popular belief that a person’s blood type influences their personality, character, and compatibility with others. People there took to the B button emoji to communicate their blood type on social media, especially in dating and romantic contexts. Aha.
In the US, the B button emoji went down a completely different path. The Los Angeles-based street gang, the Bloods, have been known to change words with the letter C, the first letter of their rival gang the Crips, to Bs (e.g., boolin‘ (cooling) and Bompton (Compton)).
The B button became especially popular, and controversial, on the internet after YouTuber Swolotag trolled Hillary “🅱️linton” in a widely viewed video in October 2016 called “Spell Icup Ni 🅱️🅱️a.”
Into the late 2010s, the use of the B button emoji quickly became associated with problematic and sometimes deliberately racist memes on social media like Reddit and Instagram known as “deep fried” memes.
As all memes do, the B button emoji also inspired spinoffs, such as the P button emoji, 🅿️. A popular deep fried meme character is Peter Griffin, from the cartoon Family Guy, referred to as Beter in the meme. After dozens of iterations of Beter Griffin, meme makers struck back against the lazy overuse of the B button with their own Peter Griffin emoji—featuring the P button emoji instead.
Who uses ?
Use of the B button emoji has a lot of controversy for one little red letter. Some question the way white internet users have appropriated black (internet) culture, particularly with 🅱️. Memes using 🅱️ posted to Reddit, especially r/dankmemes, are usually racist, so there’s that.
The overuse of the B button emoji also sparked a backlash in meme culture in early 2017. As discussed, people began replacing just about any consonant with 🅱️—and some internet-istas felt it was uninspired meme-ing. Of course, the thing about the internet is that the more you complain about something, the more people are going to troll you … beware.
The B button emoji saw a brief resurgence when the restaurant chain International House of Pancakes (IHOP) mock-annouced it was changing its name to International House of Burgers (IHOB), much to the dismay of many social media users.
yall it's ihop not iho 🅱️
— yasmeen (@_yasmeme) June 11, 2018
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