If you’re scrolling down Instagram today, odds are you’re seeing nothing but black screens. What is this for?
Blackout Tuesday, a collective action event started by black female music industry workers Jamila Thomas (Senior Director of Marketing at Atlantic Records) and Brianna Agyemang (Senior Artist Campaign Manager at Platoon), was initially intended to halt the music industry on June 2 in order to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of protests stemming from the murder of George Floyd on May 25. Halting the music industry was meant to stop artists and labels from releasing new music and business operations within the music space to pause. The hashtag meant to be used with the initiative was #TheShowWillBePaused.
“The music industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. An industry that has profited predominantly from Black art,” the initiative’s Instagram post reads. “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.”
However, brands and businesses outside of the music space have caught on, and are encouraging followers to go black on social media using the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday. In lieu of posting, those who are participating are encouraged to take their social media crusades and interest in the movement even further, by posting links to resources that people will be able to go to in order to get more information about how they can help the black community. They are also being asked not to buy or sell anything in order to display economic fortitude and restraint.
The organizers are also encouraging donations for victims’ families, as well as to community bail funds and learning more about grassroots campaigns. On their website, they’ve included links for supporting the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as community bail funds and resources to learn more about how to prevent racism.
It is of the utmost importance that those who are participating in Blackout Tuesday on social media sites (especially Twitter and Instagram) do not use the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter or #BLM on their posts. In order for more eyes to see the potential incidents occurring at protests around the country through the #BlackLivesMatter or #BLM hashtags, it’s imperative that social media users abstain from using them in their posts. If you’ve already posted your black square with these hashtags, we kindly ask that you edit your caption and remove them. Better hashtags would be #BlackoutTuesday and #TheShowWillBePaused.
Hopefully, those participating will make sure that this is not just a 24-hour movement, and that they’re in it for the long haul.
Updated 6/2/20, 12:23 p.m. ET: Looking for ways to advocate for black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.