Industry News: The Music Industry and Other Media Outlets Will Stage a 'Blackout' Tuesday-2020-06-01 16:49:29

By now, most people in the music industry as well as fans have heard about the music industry’s plans to stage a digital protest, a “blackout” of music and entertainment media in solidarity with the #blacklivesmatter movement and protesters marching about recent events.

On May 25, 2020, a video was released of a white police officer, Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of a black man for almost nine minutes in the street while he cried out for mercy. George Floyd went unresponsive on that pavement despite health workers on the scene’s pleas to allow them to check his vitals and let Floyd up. Said please were met by threats of violence from Chauvin and three other officers on the scene. It was another brutal example of unnecessary force against a black man by police.

Recent statistics show that nearly one in every 1000 black men will be killed by a police officer in the United States. Despite efforts of the #blacklivesmatter movement, the NAACP and the general public to reform and create more accountability from local police forces. That number is actually up since the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and in fact the numbers of police using lethal force have risen for every race. (Source: PBS.org, National Vital Statistics System via the CDC, Fatal Encounters Database)

It’s clear that in those six years since Michael Brown, nothing has been doing to reform the policing system in the US and in fact the problem has only gotten worse. With the main target quite clearly being black men and the lack of charges brought against officers in so many cases, George Floy’s case was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Protests in almost every city in the United States were hastily put together, often with the police response being violent and proving the protesters’ point. Even after Chauvin was arrested and charged, the protests turned to riots and now many European cities are staging protests in solidarity.

There’s is absolutely no denying the influence of black artists the world over on the music industry, from jazz to reggae to rock, disco, hip hop, EDM…the list goes on. It’s thus no surprise that members of the music industry would want to do something to help the #blacklivesmatter cause and show solidarity. No one is sure who originated the idea (some believe it was Atlantic Music), but on Saturday posts started to circulate from Columbia records, Capitol Music Group, Warner Music and their subsidiaries that they would go dark on Tuesday, June 2 in solidarity with the protesters, using the hashtag #theshowmustbepaused.

 

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Since Friday, the idea of a digital protest now called “Blackout Tuesday has spread like wildfire, with other big labels like Sony, Universal and RCA. Interscope Records has deigned to not release any new music for the whole week surrounding the protest and even some multimedia groups like MTV and Viacom CBS (who own MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and CMT) will also go black tomorrow. More independent labels and artists have picked up this mantle as well as music and media outlets in the UK and Europe. The Liverpool football (soccer) club even took a knee before its first returning game after the COVID lockdown to show their support of the cause. From large corporations to independent artists, the more members of the entertainment industry make as little noise as possible, the better to drive home the point that police brutality and the systemic racism contained therein will no longer stand. Hopefully this time, it will be heard.

Once piece of good news has already come from the industry getting involved. Rapper Jay-Z has spoken with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz over the weekend and they have agreed to have Minnesota’s Attorney General Keith Ellison take over the case of George Floyd’s murder by Derek Chauvin. (Source: New York Post)

The music industry hopes that #theshowmustbepaused will be a reminder to those who feel hopeless in the struggle for racial equality and a better police force in the US that they are not alone and that there is hope. Police in many cities like Miami, cities in New Jersey, Houston, Louisville and even New York City are also showing support by walking with protesters and keeping them safe rather than controlling them or using violence. It’s unprecedented recognition of the problems within local police forces and nationwide that change must be swift and it must be now.

Fans, bedroom artists, garage bands, Soundcloud junkies and the like are all invited to join the music industry in “Blackout Tuesday” by limiting media use for the day, changing profile pictures to black and voicing your support on social media. Use the hashtags #theshowmustbepaused and #blacklivesmatter and do whatever else you can to help this movement end police violence in the United States.

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