“Music industry will go quiet on ‘Black Out Tuesday’ to fight racial injustices”
June 1, 2020 | 2:30pm | Updated June 2, 2020 | 10:15am
Protesters gather in NYC on Sunday to condemn the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
Corbis via Getty Images
The music industry will observe “Black Out Tuesday” — halting all business endeavors to instead reconnect with the community — on June 2 in solidarity with nationwide protests and other calls for change after Floyd, a black man, was killed while in police custody by a white cop who kneeled on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
“Black Out Tuesday” is a united stand in response to the incident, which took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25. Billed as “a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community,” the campaign comes with the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused.
A post circulated widely on Instagram and other social media said: “Due to recent events please join us as we take an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change. As gatekeepers of the culture, it’s our responsibility to not only come together to celebrate the wins, but also hold each other up during a loss.”
The labels participating include Columbia Records, home to Beyoncé, Adele and Bruce Springsteen. “This is not a day off,” said the label’s Instagram post. “Instead, this is a day to reflect and figure out ways to move forward in solidarity.”
Also supporting “Black Out Tuesday” is RCA Records, whose roster includes acts such as Pink, Justin Timberlake and Khalid. “Like you, we are saddened, appalled and frustrated over the systematic injustices that continue to plague the black community,” said the label’s Instagram post.
Meanwhile, Interscope Records — label to Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar and many others — said that, in addition to participating in “Black Out Tuesday,” the company will not be releasing any new music this week. Instead, Interscope “will contribute to organizations that help to bail out protesters exercising their right to peaceably assemble, aid lawyers working for systematic change, and provide assistance to charities focused on creating economic empowerment in the Black community.”
Among others participating in “Black Out Tuesday” are Warner Music Group, which includes Atlantic Records and Warner Bros. Records; Capitol Music Group, including Capitol Records and Motown Records; and Republic Records, whose artists range from Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande to Drake.
Television companies are also joining the cause. MTV and the ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth brands — which include MTV, Comedy Central, CMT and VH1 — will suspend all programming for 8 minutes and 46 seconds at 5 p.m. Eastern to call attention to racial injustice.
Meanwhile, another A-list artist, Jay-Z, has used his influence directly. The rapper had a phone call with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz over the weekend to discuss Floyd’s death and then released a statement: “After our very earnest conversation, thank you to Governor Walz for doing what’s right and calling in Attorney General Keith Ellison to take over the George Floyd case. Earlier today, Governor Walz mentioned having a human conversation with me — a dad and a black man in pain. And I am not the only one.”
Jay-Z continued: “Now I, along with an entire country in pain, call upon AG Ellison to do the right thing and prosecute all those responsible for the murder of George Floyd to the fullest extent of the law. This is just a first step … I prevail on every politician, prosecutor and officer in the country to have the courage to do what is right.”
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