On Tuesday, June 2nd most of us found their Instagram feed filled with black squares. It felt like the world shut down for a day. But how did it start? What was it meant to be?
Black Out Tuesday started as a way for music Industry executives and employees to stop, learn, and reflect. To fall silent in solidarity with fellow humans. But mainly, to recognize and honor the black community, those who have made the history of music.
If we stop and think about it … What would Music be today without Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, 2Pac, Biggie, Bob Marley, Whitney Houston, Prince, Luis Armstrong, Tina Turner? ... and the list goes on.
Without black culture, we wouldn’t have R&B, gospel, reggae, Hip Hop, Blues …
Suspending all operation in the Industry, as a statement of solidarity and togetherness in response to oppression and injustice, especially after the latest events that have brought people together against police brutality and systematic racism. This is what Black Out Tuesday was meant to be.
Over the weekend prior to the Black Out, all major labels, independent record companies, recording studios, PR agencies, merchandise companies, as well as numerous artists, started posting and spreading awareness about the initiative and how to actively contribute to help the Black Lives Matter movement.
However, the action somehow overflew the borders of the Music Industry and everyone started posting the black square.
Some people, who most likely had very good intentions and just wanted to help the movement, did not fully understand the concept and unintentionally damaged the visibility of the news about the protests going on around the country, by using the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #BLM – specifically created to educate about the movement – instead of #BlackOutTuesday and #TheShowMustBePause – created specifically for the initiative.
Despite the controversies and debate that the whole Black Out Tuesday action brought, it was still a strong sign that something is moving, that people care, that maybe society is finally changing.
Celebrities are amongst the most privileged groups of people. They have huge platforms, loyal followings, financial possibilities, and every tool to make a difference, to have a powerful impact on social and political issues.
Some of them generally decide to stay politically neutral, some others have always taken a stand and used their privilege to give a voice to the unheard. It’s the case of pop star and activist Halsey, who’s been speaking up for minorities since day one of her career.
She took part in the protests and stood frontline, documenting the event in a few Instagram live streams, as well as keeping her fans posted via Twitter.
Now, more than ever, fans are looking up to their favorite music artists to see what their position is, and although most of them are respecting and following the lead of their idols, there’s also someone who doesn’t like mixing politics and social issues with music and entertainment. A good example of that is the response that the rapper Machine Gun Kelly, creator of the movement EST19XX (Everyone Stand Together) got from a fan who apparently did not approve of his participation in the protests.
All the most influencing artists in the industry have taken a stand against racism and police brutality. Some of them Twitting, some posting on Instagram and some taking active part to the protests.
Ultimately, music is one of the most powerful forms of expression. It’s a cry for help or a cry of joy, it’s solidarity, it’s togetherness, it’s a universal voice for those who wouldn’t have a voice otherwise.
How are your favorite artists reacting? Are you happy with the people that you support on a daily basis, buying their music, wearing their merchandise, attending their concerts? What use are they making of their privilege?