As protests continue in Atlanta and across the nation amid the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the music industry is responding by stopping the tunes — at least for now.
The initiative is part of a movement referred to as Blackout Tuesday, an effort spearheaded by music executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, CNN reported. Their initiative, #TheShowMustBePaused, aims to halt normal business operations on Tuesday, June 2.
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Why was #TheShowMustBePaused created?
In a notice on the website, Thomas and Agyemang write they are "two Black women in music" who launched the initiative "in observance of the longstanding racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard." It came in response to the deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, Ahmaud Aubrey in Brunswick "and countless other Black citizens at the hands of police."
“Our mission is to hold the industry at large, including major corporations + their partners who benefit from the efforts, struggles and successes of Black people accountable,” the memo said. “We will not continue to conduct business as usual without regard for Black lives.”
Thomas’ and Agyemang’s notice further says that Tuesday, June 2 is “meant to intentionally disrupt the work week.” Launching #TheShowMustBePaused on a Monday, they said, would suggest a long weekend “and we can’t wait until Friday for a change.”
Is this only happening today?
The executives note that the effort is “not a 24-hour initiative. We are and will be in this fight for the long haul. A plan of action will be announced.”
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Who is involved?
Record labels and music companies across the world are involved in the movement along with singers, rappers and other artists.
Atlanta stars including Lil Jon, China McClain, Monica, Usher, Jermaine Dupri and others are taking part. Outside of Atlanta, the roster includes Britney Spears, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Quincy Jones, Rihanna and Coldplay.
Is it only the music industry?
The movement is not only for the music industry, as #BlackoutTuesday has spread to other industries, according to The Independent.
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How do I participate?
To participate, people impacted by the recent events are encouraged to take a break. Many have acknowledged participation by posting a black box on their social media feeds, particularly Instagram, with hashtags including #TheShowMustBePaused and#BlackoutTuesday.
CNN reported people are encouraged to suspend emails, press releases and other business activities for the day.
What’s the controversy surrounding #BlackoutTuesday/#BlackoutDay?
Some criticism has emerged on social media with users taking issue with those posting black squares to signify they are blacking out online and using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
Twitter user @atothebed tweeted a video showing the black box images on Instagram and said, “it feels dangerous... because once you click on the blm hashtag you’re directed to an overflow of black images, instead of other more useful content people could look at for information.”
Her concern was echoed by others, including singer Kehlani and Atlanta performer Yung Baby Tate and Lithia Springs native Lil Nas X, who tweeted that people "need to see what's going on."
How do I help further?
#TheShowMustBePaused website provides a list of how people can help with donations and resources. Links are provided to donate to the families of Floyd and Aubrey and fight for Taylor. People can also help protesters and connect with leaders launching grassroots campaigns. Allies can learn more with some anti-racism resources.