Labels, artists, and industry figures will ‘take an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change’ by ceasing business activity for a day
The music industry will observe a day-long ‘blackout’ tomorrow (June 2) in protest of police brutality and systemic racism following the killing of George Floyd last week.
The 46-year-old African American was murdered by a white officer, 44-year-old Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis on May 25. His death – which was the result of Chauvin kneeling on his neck for nine minutes, ignoring his cries of “please, I can’t breathe” – has sparked the biggest protests in the US since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr in 1968.
A number of major music groups – including Sony, Universal, Warner, and more – artists, including Massive Attack, and industry figures have pledged to cease business activity as part of ‘Black Out Tuesday’, showing solidarity with Black Lives Matter. It’s been reported that employees won’t work for the day, while those taking part presumably won’t post on social media.
Joining in via the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused, a number of record labels and music industry figures have shared a viral post that reads: “Due to recent events, please join us as we take an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change. As gatekeepers of the culture, it’s our responsibility to not only come together to celebrate the wins, but also hold each other up during a loss. Join us on Tuesday June 2 as a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community.”
Massive Attack wrote on Twitter: “In solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter, our band, management, and label will all support #TheShowMustBePaused on June 2. The gravity of the situation needs the silence to be deafening.”
Writing on Instagram, Universal Music Group said: “In the words of Dr King: ‘There comes a time when silence is betrayal.’ When you have a responsibility to raise your voice for change. That time has come. There’s no place in this world for hate and violence. In the face of bigotry and prejudice, we’re proud of the way our artists, songwriters, and employees have spoken out. At UMG, we’re committed to being a force for constructive change.” UMG also shared a number of posts by its record labels, Def Jam, Capitol, Island, and more.
Sony Music wrote: “The time for talking is over. We will stand together to act, because change must come and give way to progress.” The group added in a follow-up post about Black Out Tuesday: “We stand in solidarity with the Black community, our artists, employees, colleagues, and community leaders in fighting racial injustice and inequality. This will be a day of action committed to meaningful change in our communities both now and in the future.”
In solidarity with #blacklivesmatter, our band, management & label will all support #theshowmustbepaused on 02/06.— Massive Attack (@MassiveAttackUK) May 31, 2020
The gravity of the situation needs the silence to be deafening.
We’d ask @bbc6music@bbcradio2@bbcr1 & others to consider supporting this global expression.
Warner Music Group said “the music business at WMG will not go on as usual” tomorrow. “While this is only one day, we are committed to continuing the fight for real change,” it continued. “We will be using this day to collectively reflect on what we as a company can do to put action towards change, and we will be taking steps in the coming weeks and months. As part of this, we will be contributing to Black Lives Matter and other organisations that are doing crucial work to combat racial injustice.”
Music industry figures have spoken out about joining the blackout. Zane Lowe said: “I am united with my black and brown friends and colleagues. Black lives matter. Tomorrow, I will not be on radio. I will be taking part in Black Out Tuesday, listening, learning, and looking for solutions to fight racial inequality.”
Quincy Jones wrote on Twitter: “It’s hard to know what to say because I’ve been dealing with racism my entire life. That said, it’s rearing its ugly head right now, and by God it’s time to deal with it once and for all. My team and I stand for justice. Convos will be had and action will be taken.”
There have also been criticisms of the campaign, with people questioning why the industry wouldn’t do a blackout on a Friday – the day new music is released.
Read about how to be an ally in light of George Floyd’s murder here.