Started by figures in the music industry as a way to show solidarity with black victims of police brutality, many people are going dark on social media today as part of Blackout Tuesday. But only a few hours into the day and many people are already calling out the protest as being counterproductive, asand #BLM tags are flooded with people posting black squares, potentially obscuring vital information about protests, organizations and documenting police violence.
Video of the flooded hashtag began to circulate this morning with artists likeand urging those taking part in Blackout Tuesday to remove the #BlackLivesMatter from their posts. They underscored just how important of a tool social media has become for organizers in mobilizing protesters and getting the word out about resources like bail funds, lawyers providing pro-bono services and more.
Initially conceived by senior director of marketing at Atlantic Records, Jamila Thomas, and former Atlantic executive who is now senior artist campaign manager at Platoon, Brianna Agyemang, Blackout Tuesday called on members of the music industry to pause work and “take a beat for an honest reflective and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the black community.” The hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused started trending yesterday as a result with many major labels like Sony, Universal, Warner and many major industry figures pledging to take part.
Many have come forward to criticize the Blackout Tuesday as merely being another instance of performative allyship from multi-billion dollar corporations and artists with huge platforms. Some have questioned the decision to hold the social media protest on a Tuesday as opposed to Friday, when most music is released; some smaller labels are promising not to release new music this week at all as a result. Others have pointed out the backhanded nature of the industry’s decision to go silent rather than use this as opportunity to spotlight and celebrate black artists instead.
For more information on how you can help protesters in your city and demand justice for George Floyd head.