It has been a year since social media shut down in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. A year since #BlackoutTuesday took over social media everywhere.
The summer of 2020 was an awakening for social media and every community out there. With a string of attacks, videos, and incidents of police brutality the summer of 2020 was truly a devastating time. And at long last not only does the media finally report our injustice. But now even social media shares the voices that were unheard.
But the biggest call to action was on June 2, 2020. It was on this day that began the biggest form of public display and support for the movement. The tag #BlackoutTuesday was added to black images on Instagram posts that flooded the sites with black screens as a commitment and allyship to the movement.
This initiative started as a movement by Jamila Thomas and her partner Brianna Agyemang. Both of them either work or worked for Atlantic Records. First starting as a way to “pause” all business, both in music and entertainment, this “pause” was a way to exclaim and on how people are being hunted and killed. While it was first called #theshowmustbepaused, it was the first time when someone in the industry has spoken up.
With this initiative, more than 950 brands participated in the movement showing their support. As well as voicing their opinions on the unfairness and injustice the black community has had to live through.
And now a year after this event this is just a start.
Companies while claiming support and showcasing where they stand. Tragedies are still falling within our community.
While brands and companies have improved representation and improved their hiring practices. These changes have not affected the music community.
Within these past couple years many artist have come out and talked about the unfairness they have had with their companies and labels.
For example, SZA has voiced her issues clearly on Instagram stating “I really hate my label. So much.” While the post has since been deleted this took fans in an uproar. Continuously the tag #FreeSZA trends as she exposes her labels for being “hostile” and holding her back from releasing music.
Pop Crave has released a report of her responses when questioned about her music release.
Another example is the great Anita Baker. On March 9 Anita Baker exposes her label and her struggle in keeping her masters after having “outlived her artist contracts.” While she has created her music, her label is fighting her to keep her masters. In other words, she has to fight to keep the original and recording of her own songs and music.
So Why Is #BlackoutTuesday Important
Black artists are speaking up as much as they can. Contracts are filled with loopholes where artists are at risk constantly. They can lose everything they have worked for and have to fight more than usual.
Thomas and Agyemang are constantly fighting for the pause. The initiative to have these music industries look, change, and demand proper equality for all their artists. Race is a topic that is included everywhere, from beauty products to music, race is a part of our history.
As the years’ progress and music industries catch up there are a few programs and sites that support Black music creators, executives, and professionals. These sites stand by each other to help them reach their careers as well as discuss the racial disparities music industries have.
The first one being PowerUP, a foundation that enhances the careers of Black artists in hopes of better representation and equality for the community.
There is also Black Lives in Music, a community that “Stands on the frontline of diversity in Jazz and Classical Music.” A site that brings awareness and understanding of diversity in the industry.
While #BlackoutTuesday trended, people spoke up, and programs were created for support. The music industry still has a long way to go.