#BlackOutTuesday: What #TheShowMustBePaused Means for Music

Today, June 2, individuals and organizations throughout the music industry are observing a “blackout” in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black citizens at the hands of police.

#TheShowMustBePaused is an opportunity to disrupt the work week for an industry that profits massively from Black art and culture. It’s not a day to disconnect from the issue at hand, but a chance for people in music to disconnect from work and come together in support of the Black community while representing “an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change.”

The call to action was launched by Jamila Thomas (Senior Director of Marketing at Atlantic) and Brianna Agyemang (a former Atlantic Executive who is now Senior Artist Campaign Manager at Platoon). In a statement on they explained that today is “an initiative created by two Black women in music in observance of the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard.

“We will not continue to conduct business as usual without regard for Black lives,” they wrote, adding, “The music industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. An industry that has profited predominantly from Black art.”

This day is being observed to varying degrees across the industry. Interscope will not release new music this week, and Universal Music Group, which includes Interscope, Capitol, Republic, and more, has announced the launch of an inclusion task force. The Warner Music Group is allowing employees to take the day off “to concentrate on helping yourself and others.”

Elsewhere, Spotify has added an 8-minute, 46-second track of silence to select playlists to mark the length of time that George Floyd was suffocated to death by a police officer.

Individuals such as Apple Music DJs Zane Lowe and Ebro Darden have canceled their radio shows for today and musicians including Billie Eilish, Quincy Jones, Ariana Grande, and Zayn Malik have posted their support for the initiative.

Those participating in #BlackOutTuesday are being cautioned against including the Black Lives Matter hashtag as it buries vital posts that keep protesters safe and informed.

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