While citizens nationwide are protesting the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis officer kneeled on his neck for nine minutes, musicians and others in the music industry are also speaking up and looking for ways to help end racism and bring about accountability.
We at Billboard — like the many artists, companies, music industry professionals and more — are also adding our voices to stand in solidarity.
Here is a look at how musicians and others in the industry are helping, and inviting you to do the same:
Join “Blackout Tuesday”
Music companies and musicians are calling for a day for everyone to “disconnect from work and reconnect with our community” on June 2, which is being dubbed “Blackout Tuesday.” “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 loss,” read a statement that is being shared online.
Among those who have shared the message are Apple Music’s Ebro Darden, Atlantic Records, Sony, Capitol Records, 2K Management, independent distributor Empire, and many more. Many labels — including Columbia, Def Jam, Atlantic, Interscope, Warner, Virgin, and others — will case business activity that day. Interscope Geffen A&M also added that it would not be releasing any new music the week of June 1.
“We need justice for George Floyd,” Beyonce began a May 29 Instagram video, urging her followers to sign petitions that will help seek justice. There are numerous petitions — including from Change.org, MoveOn.org, and Amnesty International, among others — that people can sign, collected on the website BlackLivesMatters.carrd.co.
Petitions you can sign:
- We Can’t Breathe
- Grassroots Law Project’s Justice for Floyd
- Justice for Floyd on MoveOn.org
- Justice for George Floyd on Change.org
- Amnesty International: Justice for George Floyd
- Charge the Minneapolis Police Officers on Change.org
- Color of Change
- Justice for Breonna Taylor on Change.org
- Justice for Ahmuad Arbery on Change.org
- Life Sentence for Police Brutality on Change.org
Celebrities are donating to help pay the bail for protesters who have been arrested during demonstrations around the country. John Legend and Chrissy Teigen announced on May 30 that she was donating $200,000, while Janelle Monae and Kehlani have donated to MinnesotaFreedomFund.org. Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda is also helping pay bail by donating to the Louisville Community Bail Fund.
Meanwhile, Bon Iver donated $30,000 to the George Floyd Memorial Fund, Reclaim the Block and Black Visions Collective, as well as the Minnesota Freedom Fund. And Kehlani called on her fellow musicians to match her $2,000 donation to Peoples Programs, which is working to bail out black protesters in Oakland.
Other ways to donate:
- ACLU of Minnesota
- George Floyd GoFundMe
- Peoples City Council Freedom Fund
- Black Lives Matter Los Angeles
- Atlanta Solidarity Fund
- Brooklyn Community Bail Fund
- Free Them All for Public Health
- Philadelphia Bail Fund
- Action Network of Atlanta
- Colorado Freedom Fund
- The Bail Project
- Los Angeles Action Bail Fund
- Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere-Los Angeles
One way to encourage change is to register to vote and head to the polls, something that Cardi B. is urging her fans to do. “When I say voting, I’m not only talking about the president,” she told her followers in an Instagram video May 29 addressing Floyd’s death. “We could vote for mayors, we could vote for judges, and we could also vote for D.A.s.”
Taylor Swift also emphasized the importance of voting in what has now become her most popular tweet yet. Her message, which called out Donald Trump for “stoking the fires of white supremacy,” ended with a message to the president: “We will vote you out in November.”
Learn how to register to vote in your state here.
Speak Out and Get Organized
Rapper Killer Mike spoke at a press conference in Atlanta May 29 urging protesters to be peaceful, and instead of violence and destruction, to “plan, organize and mobile” against racism. “It is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy,” he said in his now-viral speech. “It is your duty to fortify your own house so that you may be a house of refuge in times of organization.”
Multiple musicians — including Nick Cannon, Halsey, J. Cole and more — have taken to the streets to join peaceful protests around the country in an effort to have everyone’s voices heard in the fight to end systemic racism. They’re holding up signs, marching, and even addressing fellow protesters about the importance of speaking up.
Amplify Black Voices
Shawn Mendes urged people — especially those in the majority — to help black voices be heard. “All of us that are in the majority can’t sit idle any longer while the minority are suffering,” he shared in a graphic on Twitter. “It’s time for ALL humans to demand change. This needs to be EVERYONE’S fight. We need to start to really listen to and help amplify black voices. To make their struggles known and to reject racism. It’s time to take action on that feeling in your heart that knows how wrong this is.”