Today the show pauses.
This is what two music industry executives are telling the world in an online movement known as Blackout Tuesday.
Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang are based in New York. They organized the online movement that goes by #TheShowMustBePaused in an effort to disrupt normal work operations in their industry today. Workers at some companies are being asked to break from their usual tasks to “take a beat for an honest, reflective and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community,” according to their official website.
Thomas is the senior director of marketing at Atlantic Records. Agyeman is a senior artist campaign manager at Platoon. They started Blackout to increase understanding of what the black community needs. They have created accounts on Twitter and Instagram to tout the effort.
ViacomCBS President of Entertainment and Youth Brands Chris McCarthy sent an internal memo announcing that the company would “shine a light on the realities of racial injustice and call for equality.” McCarthy also told CNN his company will “focus our attention away from work and towards our community.”
Some of those who support Blackout Tuesday have posted solid black images on their social media to raise awareness of racial injustice.
Celebrities and public figures across industries have shared this initiative on their social media. The Rolling Stones and Drake, among others, have posted in solidarity with the Blackout Tuesday initiative, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.
Gilbert Pierre is a 30-year-old independent filmmaker, who lives in Miramar. He is of Haitian descent and most of his films focus on Haitian culture. He thinks Blackout Tuesday is important, but awareness needs to last longer than a day.
“Social media is helping shine a light on this,” Pierre says, ”but what happened to the other 364 days of the year?”
For the filmmaker, the Blackout Tuesday effort is valid, but he believes supporters should realize his people have faced the same phenomenon for more than 400 years.
“Freedom is supposed to be free,” says Pierre. “Why do we have to fight for it?”
Dajah Vamour is a model and Miami resident. She’s attended the George Floyd protests in Miami and even appeared on the news. Vamour says celebrities need to discuss the issue more. “[Celebrities] don’t talk about what they need to talk about,” says Vamour. “They are mute,”
The model is not participating in the blackout because she doesn’t understand what the community has to gain from it.
“What is that picture actually gonna do?” she asks. “It’s a black picture. It doesn’t help me learn anything. I don’t get it.”
Aza Jaye is Vamour’s cousin. She is a Miami resident and has also attended the George Floyd protests. She agrees with Vamour about the Blackout Tuesday initiative.
“Instagram is the place we go to for our news,” Jaye explains, “but our feed is all black and it’s weird. What do we really gain from it?”
In addition to explaining their movement on their website, Thomas and Agyemang added a list of resources to donate funds to the families of George Floyd and two other African Americans, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, who were also killed recently.
There are also anti-racism resources.
The official statement on their site says this isn’t just a “24-hour initiative” and that an “action plan [for the future] will be announced.”