In the wake of George Floyd‘s death on May 25, two Atlanta Records executives are taking a stand and putting pause on the work week for the music industry. Atlantic senior directors of marketing Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas, who are both Black, chose to begin the initiative as a response to “the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard.” Here are five things you should know about Blackout Tuesday on June 2.
1) It’s a call for the music industry’s accountability to the Black community. In a statement posted on the initiative’s official Instagram account, the creators called for the music industry “at large, including major corporations and their partners who benefit from the efforts, struggles, and success of Black people” to be held “accountable.” The statement continues to ask those corporations to “protect and empower” the Black artists that they represent, with June 2 serving as a day to begin that work. They used the hashtag “the show must be paused,” an alternative take on the industry saying, “the show must go on.”
2) Some of music’s biggest and brightest young stars are showing support. On June 1, Grammy-winner Billie Eilish took to her Instagram account to share in a since-deleted post her support for the initiative. “Please join us as we take an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change,” the message read. “Join us on Tuesday, June 2 as a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community.”
3) A number of music groups are standing in solidarity with the movement and with the Black community. In the days after initial calls were made for the music industry to reflect on its relationship with the Black community, labels like Sony/ATV, Warner Music, Universal Music Group, Apple Music’s Ebro Darden, DefJam and more showed their solidarity on social media. In their statement, DefJam executives vowed to “stand with our colleagues, our artists, and our community in observance of BLACKOUT TUESDAY.”
4) The effort may continue into the future. As their initial social media post stated, Agyemang and Thomas vowed that Blackout Tuesday would not be “just a 24-hour initiative. We are and will be in this fight for the long haul.”
5) The initiative takes place as thousands continue to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Across the country and in major cities from Los Angeles to New York City, activists and citizens have been gathering to protest the circumstances of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. In the days following Floyd’s death, protests turned violent once law enforcement became involved and others took advantage of peaceful protests to loot stores and deface property. Many music artists, including Ariana Grande and Halsey have attended protests in a show of solidarity.