Stars like Lil Nas X, Sadé and Kehlani, among others, have spoken out on Tuesday to criticize the Blackout Tuesday movement in which other celebrities and brands have posted blank, black squares on social media.
Blackout Tuesday, which originated in the music industry to spark a conversation about racism against black Americans in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests, was quickly adopted by much of Hollywood, countless brands and your average individual as a way of showing solidarity for the movement.
However, some stars are criticizing brands or influencers who are merely posting blank, black squares on social media or statements in lieu of making donations to charity or otherwise advancing the cause of social justice. And screenshots of Instagram when searching the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag have resulted in pages of the blank, black squares, pushing down meaningful information that people might be seeking.
“Black Out Tuesday posts are ineffective. People can’t see useful content about the Black Lives Matter protests when they click the hashtag on instagram because of the over flow of blank black pictures,” Sadé said in a tweet.
“This is not helping us. Bro who the hell thought of this?? ppl need to see what’s going on,” Lil Nas X tweeted. “Not tryna be announcing but what if we posted donation and petitions links on Instagram all at the same time instead of pitch black images.”
Blackout Tuesday started as an initiative called #TheShowMustBePaused aimed specifically at the music industry. Jamila Thomas, a senior director of marketing at Atlantic Records, and Brianna Agyemang, another former Atlantic executive, started the hashtag and selected Tuesday specifically as a day to disrupt the work week and actively called for work stoppages.
“We will not continue to conduct business as usual without regard for Black lives,” a statement read on the movement’s website. “This is not just a 24-hour initiative. We are and will be in this fight for the long haul. A plan of action will be announced.”
Musicians like Rihanna closed down all of her businesses for the day (though she also posted a blank, black square), and Interscope announced it would not be releasing new music this week. Meanwhile, websites like Complex dedicated all of their content to Black Lives Matter subjects as a way to redirect the conversation. Many others, however, have posted statements of support or have gone dark on social media.
#TheShowMustBePaused page lists links where you can donate to the families of recent slain African Americans such as George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor or to charities that help bail peaceful protesters out of jail. You can find those resources here.
See more reaction to the Black Out Tuesday movement below:
Black Out Tuesday posts are ineffective. People can't see useful content about the Black Lives Matter protests when they click the hashtag on instagram because of the over flow of blank black pictures. pic.twitter.com/x3SQiTwWX6
— SADÉ (@sadeyoncee) June 2, 2020
this is the 4th completely different flyer i’ve seen for it. this is the only one without the saying go completely silent for a day in solidarity. the messages are mixed across the board and i really hope it doesn’t have a negative effect. https://t.co/AWnWa3C8gb
— Kehlani (@Kehlani) June 2, 2020
this is not helping us. bro who the hell thought of this?? ppl need to see what’s going on https://t.co/fN492qsxaa
— nope (@LilNasX) June 2, 2020
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) June 2, 2020
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
Karen said “Black Out Tuesday!” on Instagram and then did some extensive online shopping
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) June 2, 2020
Please see before using the BLM hashtag with your Blackout Tuesday post: pic.twitter.com/g3X4W4dgsd
— Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) June 2, 2020
yes they are amazing. what i’m also interested in is more immediate and clear aid from the $$$$$$ at the top to groups who need it now. would mean a lot to see large donations from our big corporations in music. https://t.co/hs24sdrNZY
— jackantonoff (@jackantonoff) June 2, 2020