Blackout Tuesday: music industry leaders promise to shut down for a day

A group of artists paint a mural of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 28.

Music directors Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang led efforts to block normal commercial operations on June 2 through their #theshowmustbepaused initiative.

It appears that a Twitter account linked to the group was created on Sunday over the course of a weekend that saw communities across the country protest the murders of George Floyd and others at the hands of the police.

In a letter explaining the effort sent to them official site, Thomas and Agyemang said it is “in respect of long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard”.

Artists like the Rolling Stones, Quincy Jones and Billie Eilish have said they will watch the day. A number of artists have also canceled listening parties or fan events in response.

There will also be labels including Def Jam Recordings, Interscope, Sony Music, Columbia Records and more.

“We will not continue to conduct business as usual without regard for black lives,” wrote Thomas and Agyemang. “Tuesday 2 June is intended to intentionally terminate the working week.”

Exactly what will actually appear will vary from company to company and from person to person. But attendees are encouraged to opt out of email, music publications and any other normal business activities.

At MTV, Chris McCarthy, president of the ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth group, told employees in an internal email obtained from CNN that the company “will focus our attention away from work and to our community.”

“We will not hold any meetings or conduct any business – rather we will be in solidarity with our African American colleagues and loved ones across the country,” he wrote.

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On Monday, ViacomCBS networks including MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network and Pop, will darken for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement “and other victims of racism,” wrote McCarthy.

The organizers also encourage donations for the families of the victims, community bailout funds and involvement with grassroots campaigns.

They also provided a list of anti-racist resources.

“This isn’t just a 24-hour initiative,” added Thomas and Agyemang. “We are and will be in this struggle for the long haul.”


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