Emerging protests and racial justice initiatives come after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man was wrongfully murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota by law enforcement officer, Derek Chauvin, after Officer Chauvin pinned his knee to Floyd’s neck, thus killing him. The murder of George Floyd is a continuation of a long string of police brutality that has led to the murders of numerous black people in America by law enforcement. More recent incidents include Amaud Arbery who shot while jogging in Glynn County, Georgia and Breonna Taylor who was shot in her home while sleeping in Louisville, Kentucky.
The social media initiative, #BlackOutTuesday, was created by the music industry as a day of action that sprang from an initiative created by Atlantic Records’ senior director of marketing, Jamila Thomas, and former senior director of marketing, Brianna Agyemang, called #TheShowMustBePaused, “in observance of the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard in the industry.”
The initiative was intended to halt all music business on June 2 and encourage supporters to use it as a day to reflect on future action, “a day to take a beat for an honest, reflective and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community,” according to the website.
Major record labels including Universal Music Group, Atlantic Records, Capitol Music Group, Warner Records, Columbia Records, and many more joined in to support and declare Tuesday, June 2 as Black Out Tuesday when all business would be halted. From there, the initiative spread quickly, and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement showed their support and participated.
Supporters took to social media and posted a black square with captions like, “#BlackOutTuesday,” “Enough is enough,” and “In this together.”
Other platforms also showed their support for Black Out Tuesday. Spotify is adding 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to certain playlists and podcasts to represent the amount of time that the white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against George Floyd’s neck and killed him. Amazon Music paused social media for the day, but kept the platform live. Apple Music cancelled its Beats 1 radio schedule and encouraged people to listen to a stream celebrating black artists.