The music industry-backed “Black Out Tuesday” campaign to show fealty to the Black Lives Matter agenda and support amid the death of George Floyd is backfiring as many left-wing activists take to social media to scold the “tone deaf” effort that even CNN warns could be “doing more harm than good.”
Black music executives Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas began pushing the idea to challenge the industry that “has profited predominantly from Black art.”
“Our mission is to hold the industry at large, including major corporations + their partners who benefit from the efforts, struggles and successes of Black people accountable. To that end, it is the obligation of these entities to protect and empower the Black communities that have made them disproportionately wealthy in ways that are measurable and transparent,” the two said in a press release.
— theshowmustbepaused (@pausetheshow) June 1, 2020
The idea gained ground over the weekend and now many industry executives, labels, and artists are refraining from posting any music, art, or other media for the entire day to show support for the protests. Today, they are posting a black box on social media to drive the point home.
The campaign also garnered support from some of Hollywood’s biggest stars: Ben Affleck, Kevin Bacon, Mandy Moore, Dwayne Johnson, Don Cheadle, Ryan Reynolds, Bon Jovi, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Susan Sarandon, to name a few.
But the effort strikes many leftists as at least a muddled message. CNN warned on Tuesday that celebrities pushing the campaign “could be doing more harm than good.”
"We use hashtag to keep ppl updated. PLS stop using the hashtag for black images!!"
Why posting a black image with the Black Lives Matter hashtag today could be doing more harm than good https://t.co/eZSEgaSwZj
— CNN International (@cnni) June 2, 2020
Other activist worry that at worst, it’s doing actual harm to the very cause they hope to support. A host of liberals and leftists have jumped to social media to excoriate the effort with many telling white people they are doing it wrong. Artist Bree Newsome Bass, for instance, slammed the idea of a day of silence because, she exclaims, “silence is part of the problem.”
I don’t understand calling for silence in the middle of mass protesting & uprising. Especially when silence is part of the problem. This happens frequently during uprisings against police brutality. I also don’t trust the music industry lol #BlackOutTuesday
— Bree Newsome Bass (@BreeNewsome) June 2, 2020
Another scolded the music industry as trying to justify sitting back and doing nothing constructive.
This music industry-driven #Blackout seems to be the perfect excuse for the music industry not to have say anything substantive about anti-Black/white supremacist practices with their own industry
— Dr. Oni Blackstock (@DrOniBee) June 2, 2020
There was also confusion about what hashtags to use.
Actress and writer Yvette Nicole Brown demanded that people participating in the blackout day stop adding the hashtag #blacklivesmatter because it is “disrupting” Black Lives Matter operations.
If you're taking part in the music industry led social media blackout on Tuesday, please use #BlackoutTuesday & #TheShowMustBePaused (instead of # Black Lives Matter) both are dedicated to the cause & won't disrupt important information shared under the BLM hashtag. ❤️
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) June 2, 2020
Many others also excoriated those using the #blacklivesmatter hashtag with the blackout campaign because it is interrupting Black Lives Matter efforts.
It has come to my attention that many allies are using #BlackLivesMatter hashtag w black image on insta. We know that’s it no intent to harm but to be frank, this essentially does harm the message. We use hashtag to keep ppl updated. PLS stop using the hashtag for black images!! pic.twitter.com/eG2fPaybNW
— Kenidra4Humanity ~ BLACK LIVES MATTER ~ (@KenidraRWoods_) June 2, 2020
stop posting black squares under the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on Instagram. it is intentionally and unintentionally hiding critical information we are using on the ground and online. pic.twitter.com/EIS44aDXXd
— y’all don’t read the room (@anthoknees) June 2, 2020
For his part, Musician Bon Iver slammed the whole thing. He added, “the music industry shutdown thing feels tone deaf to me” and asked followers to “participate in our actual world.” (He later deleted the tweet).
Rapper Asher Roth chided the musical industry move as “tone deaf.”
lol @ music industry being tone-deaf
— Asher Roth (@asherroth) June 2, 2020
A Black Lives Matter proponent responded to writer-actor Bill Cortbett of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame, saying the Black Out Tuesday campaign “seems tone deaf.”
I first heard it a few days ago through some major label channels posting. No one told the artists what it is or what to do. They still haven’t. I hope people are still vocal about danger. No one is playing shows right now or releasing music on a Tuesday anyway. Seems tone deaf.
— Har Mar Super Far (@HarMarSuperstar) June 2, 2020
Former Def Jam executive Chris Anokute also knocked the movement saying he didn’t even know what it was supposed to be doing.
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First off, I want to commend whoever the individual(s) are that came up with “BLACKOUT Tuesday”. We appreciate you and respect your leadership. I stand with you, behind you, in front of you, wherever I need to be. I will blackout with you everyday, not just Tuesday. I also think it’s important we know the origin though, as many of my colleagues and peers are sharing a hashtag, but are yet to confirm where it came from. And this is the problem with society today, and it can sometimes be dangerous. So someone please share, comment. It's pretty ironic that many are posting that they’ll be observing “BLACK OUT” Tuesday, but our friends at Sony ATV, run by a black man, and Island Records, run by a black man, and Def Jam, currently run by a black man (forgive me if I missed anyone) properly quoted “BLACKOUT Tuesday”. I’d like to know what information they have. And while we are at it, Darcus Beese and Ethiopia Habtermariam should be named the CEOs of Island Records and Motown Records respectively. There is no reason why they should hold President titles of major record companies, when all of their peers who are not black currently hold CEO and/or Chairman titles. We already know how hard Sylvia Rhone fought for her title change. These are some of the injustices you should talk about on BLACKOUT Tuesday. I’ll be writing more…
“I honestly don’t know what Blackout Tuesday is, so I can’t observe something until I know its origin, who it came from, where it came from, so I know its real intention,” Anokute said. “I can’t take someone’s word for it. That’s the problem today.”
Another artist noted that he did not understand how taking a day to do nothing was actually doing something.
“Hmmm… ‘disconnect from work and reconnect with our community’. Can’t we do both? You’ve got to do what you feel is best I guess but personally I won’t be taking part in Black Out Tuesday. I don’t want a pause, I want action.”
Hmmm… “disconnect from work and reconnect with our community”. Can’t we do both? You’ve got to do what you feel is best I guess but personally I won’t be taking part in Black Out Tuesday. I don’t want a pause, I want action.
— Ghostpoet (@ghostpoet) June 1, 2020
Many others also scoffed at the campaign as worse than useless:
This blackout Tuesday was clearly started by individuals with good intentions, but has been co opted by people and labels looking for an easy way out. These black squares are not helping. They are drowning out images with actual information.
— Alex Tumay (@alextumay) June 2, 2020
Please take down these images and instead spread information. I know a lot of music industry people who benefit from generational wealth. Spread that around to people in need. And since you’re taking the day off you’re free to show up to protests. See you at Foley Square at 1pm.
— Alex Tumay (@alextumay) June 2, 2020
#BlackoutTuesday does NOTHING to help BLM and in fact ends up silencing the movement. If you want to do something helpful, use your platform to amplify black voices.
— Dylan Miles (@king_of_bob) June 2, 2020
Whether you agree with the sentiment of Blackout Tuesday or not, here’s the reality. This essentially turned off a massive social media platform from posting effective pics/vids that help the cause. Those black squares are for YOU, not them https://t.co/kML2xzjqbT
— KFC (@KFCBarstool) June 2, 2020
black out Tuesday feels like a speed bump trying to slow down real progress. I don’t know about you but the movement was moving LOUD and VISIBLE without this.
— La Mar C Taylor (@lamarXO) June 2, 2020
this black out tuesday is giving me kony 2012 vibes
— nadirah (@hinadirah) June 2, 2020
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