#VOA: Music Industry Leaders Pledge to Participate in ‘Blackout’ to Show Solidarity with the Black Community . #VOANews
Leaders of the music industry have pledged to “disconnect” from business to support communities fighting against racial inequality as part of “Black Out Tuesday.”
In response to a massive wave of outrage following the death last week in Minneapolis, Minnesota, of George Floyd in police custody, major record labels denounced racial injustice on social media. They are calling for a “day of action” on June 2 to reflect and promote accountability, contemplation and change.
“We stand together with the black community against all forms of racism, bigotry, and violence. Now, more than ever, we must use our voices to speak up and challenge the injustices all around us,” Ron Perry, chairman of Columbia Records, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation America, said Thursday night.
Warner Records made a similar announcement, pledging that activity at their labels will not continue to operate as usual, and committing to help Black Lives Matter and other organizations battling injustice.
Universal Music, part of Vivendi, said on its Twitter account that they “stand with the black community,” under the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused. Interscope Geffen A&M, part of the Universal group, said it would release no new music this week.
Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge issued a memo to staff over the weekend outlining plans for a task force to “accelerate our efforts in areas such as inclusion and social justice.”
“This week, yet again, we saw our society’s most painful realities about race, justice, and inequality brought — cruelly and brutally — into the harsh light of day,” he wrote in the note, according to Reuters.
Protests were ignited by a video showing white police officer Derek Chauvin suffocating Floyd, a black 46-year-old man, by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes shortly before his death May 25.
Chauvin has been fired and is facing third-degree murder charges.
Many influential artists have also spoken out on social media about Floyd’s death.
Beyoncé posted a video to Instagram calling for her followers to sign a petition seeking “justice for George Floyd.”
“We’re broken, and we’re disgusted. … I am not only speaking to people of color. If you are white, black, brown, or anything in between, I am sure you feel (left) hopeless by the racism going on in America right now,” she said to her fans.
“Watching my people get murdered and lynched day after day pushed me to a heavy place in my heart!” Rihanna wrote on Instagram.
Other celebrities, including Ariana Grande, J Cole, Yungblud, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes and Nick Cannon joined protests over the weekend.
Singer Hasley was among the artists seen protesting in Los Angeles and shared her experience via social media.
“We were peaceful, hands up, not moving, not breaching the line,” she tweeted, along with photos of police in protective gear. “They opened fire of rubber bullets and tear gas multiple times on us,” the singer said.
National Guard Troops have been deployed in 15 states and Washington, D.C., as tensions at the protests rose.
Reuters contributed to this report