What Is Blackout Tuesday?

Today Tuesday, June 2nd 2020, is Blackout Tuesday which is an initiative about change within the music industry.

Blackout Tuesday is something that has never been done before and was started by music executives, Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang. Whilst there are several hashtags and movements around at the moment, it’s important to do your due diligence to not confuse different messages and initiatives. The Blackout Tuesday initiative is very specifically a music industry initiative and activity that is about disrupting the industry.

It goes hand in hand with the hashtag “#TheShowMustBePaused” which serves a few purposes. It seeks to both give time for Black people in the music community respite from work in order to connect with, mourn, and support the Black community as well as stop the regular schedule of content. On another level it is also an opportunity to reassess the dynamic within the music industry that mirrors wider society.

Black music is still in the hands of white gatekeepers. Black artists are being exploited through bad label deals facilitated by receiving inadequate advice from label suggested lawyers. Black people are still not equal within the music industry despite things being in a better place right now than they have been in the past. As such Blackout Tuesday is a chance to address that internally in the music industry by having things come to a halt.

Radio personalities like MistaJam in the UK and Ebro in America are not going to be broadcasting live. Instead, they are using their slots to play revolutionary music and in the case of Ebro past interviews with political activists, regardless of who will feel uncomfortable from it. Labels including Def Jam Recordings, Interscope, Sony Music, Columbia Records and more are all participating in different capacities but with the big one being halting new music releases from happening for at least today. Some labels have halted releases for the week and other music industry platforms like PR companies and platforms are also putting their work on pause.

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The campaign has been picked up by other industries and even influencers and they are standing in solidarity with it by not putting out their regular scheduled content. As much as it is great to have the intentions of supporting the movement simply posting the black square and then carrying on posting content completely defeats the purpose of the day. The “Blackout” part of Blackout Tuesday really means just that, so if you align yourself with the day please refrain from posting other content. In that same vein, it should be kept separate from the #BlackLivesMatter. A surge of black squares amongst the hashtag will only dilute the more important information being shared amongst the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

If you use the #BlackoutTuesday hashtag today, please do so and take the action that goes in hand with the hashtag. Please also, by all means, use it in tandem with a linked hashtag like #TheShowMustBePaused and please also seek to clarify what it’s about where you can. The atrocities the Black community face are numerous and constant but we will never stop working towards changing that and we need and welcome allies that take action for change. You can find out more information on the day here https://www.theshowmustbepaused.com/.

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