At the beginning of June Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, two Black executives in the music industry, asked the music industry to pause for a day on June 2nd. The ‘Black Out Tuesday’ initiative came after George Floyd was murdered by law enforcement. Members of the Black community and their allies began a movement that is ongoing. Now, three months later, the two women have spoken to Billboard about their next steps.
Agyemang and Thomas announced that they have created a list of demands for the music industry, stating, “It has been 90 days since the black out. In the last three months, we have witnessed Black leaders promoted; financial support committed and in many cases distributed; a historic moment of solidarity in the March on Washington; and the list of companies, idealists, and collectives vowing to no longer tolerate racial injustice and inequity grow exponentially. However, the work does not stop there”.
Their statement goes on to call for accountability, transparency, fair pay, and more diversity (amongst other things) within the music industry. Thomas and Agyemang are giving music companies 30 days to respond and say they will keep fighting for equality. They are looking at changing the bigger picture.
Black Out Tuesday’s original purpose was to halt the music industry, an industry so influenced by Black culture, to encourage everyone involved to spend that day supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. However, social media latched onto the movement and it became a widespread initiative. This came with its pros and cons.
On one hand, people everywhere taking a day to fight for their own lives, or the lives of their friends and family, is a beautiful thing. Black Out Tuesday came with a sense of unity and many people were active participants in spreading its message. However, there was some backlash due to black squares being posted all over Instagram. It began to drown out the helpful information on protesting, donations, and resources supporting Black Lives Matter. Some participants were also criticized for posting the black square as their only effort to support the movement. Regardless of the mixed reactions to Black Out Tuesday, Thomas and Agyemang haven’t stopped their fight.
Since the beginning of June, we’ve seen snippets of change and beautiful examples of people coming together to fight for one another. However, let’s not forget that Jacob Blake was shot in front of his children by a police officer. The struggle is far from over. Fortunately, we are drawing nearer to Election Day which gives us a chance to shift things and start making some major progress. While you’re here, make sure you keep informed and register to vote here!
For those of you who have taken a step back, find your fight again. For those of you who are still fighting, we support you and thank you. We hope to see these list of demands honored by the music industry and more progression in the coming days. Find the whole list of demands and original Billboard story here.