In the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody and the ensuing protests worldwide, the music industry is planning to turn June 2 into “Blackout Tuesday,” a day to press pause on usual business and turn toward fighting racial injustice. Numerous large music labels, as well as iconic musicians such as Peter Gabriel and Mick Jagger, have joined the movement that’s being shared on social media with the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused.
“It is heartbreaking to see America tearing itself apart again over issues of race,” the Rolling Stones frontman tweeted Monday. “Tomorrow I stand with my fellow artists and observe Blackout Tuesday to combat racial discrimination and social injustice.”
The Rolling Stones’ official group Twitter account also tweeted about the event. “Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie stand with all who object to racism, violence or bigotry,” a tweet sent Monday read.
Many artists and labels used #TheShowMustBePaused hashtag as they expressed plans to take part in Blackout Tuesday, which music executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang spearheaded as “a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community.”
“This is what solidarity looks like,” wrote musician Billy Bragg. “Take a day out to reflect on what actions we need to collectively take to support the black community.”
Columbia Records noted in a tweet that “this is not a day off,” adding, that “instead, this is a day to reflect and figure out ways to move forward in solidarity.”
A tweet from Interscope Records noted that the label will not release new music on Tuesday, and instead will contribute to “organizations that help to bail out protesters exercising their right to peaceably assemble, aid lawyers working for systematic change, and provide assistance to charities focused on creating economic empowerment in the black community.”
Some artists said they would cancel radio appearances and media interviews and refrain from posting on social media for the day.
“It’s hard to know what to say because I’ve been dealing with racism my entire life,” famed producer Quincy Jones tweeted. “That said, it’s rearing its ugly head right now & by God it’s time to deal with it once & for all. My team & I stand for justice. Convos will be had & action will be taken.”
George Floyd, who is African American, died on May 25 after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was captured on video pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” Protests since then have been staged worldwide, with some erupting in violence.
On Monday, a number of ViacomCBS networks, including BET, CBS Sports Network and Nickelodeon, went dark across their platforms for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time Chauvin pinned Floyd down with his knee. (Disclosure: ViacomCBS is CNET’s parent company.)
Spotify, meanwhile, will add a silent track to some playlists and podcasts on Blackout Tuesday. “Select participating playlists and podcasts will include an 8-minute, 46-second track of silence as a solemn acknowledgement for the length of time that George Floyd was suffocated,” the company said in a blog post.