Blackout Tuesday is a day promoted by activists to bring attention to changes in the US policy and honor George Floyd, who died at the hands of a police officer. This movement was initially started by two women, Atlantic Records exec Jamila Thomas and Platoon’s Brianna Agyemang, as a social media initiative for members of the music industry. The women urged the music community to pause business operations on June 2 “in observance of the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard.”
They used hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused and asked others to make June 2 a day “to take a beat for an honest, reflective and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community.”
The movement spread rapidly on various platforms and manifests itself by people posting black images on social media to express solidarity with the black community.
A lot of music companies, studios, bands, musicians, brands, organizations, and individuals took part in the #BlackoutTuesday movement.
Why may adding #BlackLivesMatter hashtags to Blackout Tuesday posts be harmful for the movement?
However, there’s certain criticism about the movement. As protests over the death of George Floyd continue across the US, it is vital for activists and protestors to have access to information on updates, other protests, or educational resources.
The thing is that some people who want to participate in the Blackout Tuesday initiative also use the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter or #BLM, which was initially created to help protestors communicate valuable information like organization donations and documenting police violence through social media platforms. Now, however, when people click on this hashtag, they see nothing but black squares, which is confusing and makes it more difficult to find vital information about the protests across the USA.
Kenidra Woods, a mental health advocate and Black Lives Matter activist, pointed this issue out in a tweet:
Writer Anthony James Williams also added on his Twitter, “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…”
Twitter CEO Adam Mosseri wrote in a tweet, “We're hearing asks from the community that posts related to Blackout Tuesday use the hashtag #blackouttuesday, and not #blacklivesmatter. The #blacklivesmatter hashtag aggregates important information and resources for the community.”
There is a solution, though. Users are asked to stop using #BlackLivesMatter hashtag with black pictures they post on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, and use #BlackoutTuesday or #TheShowMustBePaused tags instead.