The controversy behind #BlackOutTuesday
An excuse to avoid meaningful change, critics say
It’s #BlackOutTuesday, which means you may have noticed a string of posts featuring black squares on social media today.
But what does that mean? And why are some people celebrating the hashtag while others are saying it’s getting in the way?
Two black women in the U.S. music industry came up with the concept in response to the death of George Floyd and other unarmed black Americans at the hands of the police.
Using the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused, Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang called on the music industry to shut down on June 2.
It’s a day to “take a beat for an honest, reflective and productive conversation” about how to support the black community, the women wrote in their Twitter post on June 1.
When #BlackOutTuesday arrived, many in the music industry obliged, posting blank posts on their feeds and nothing else.
“Side by side,” was the caption on Drake’s post.
Many athletes and sports organizations followed suit, including the Raptors:
Actors like Riverdale star KJ Apa also jumped on board.
But if you look closely at the comments on his Instagram post, you’ll see that not everybody is impressed by the idea of a blank post.
“Where’s a donation link? A petition link? I’m sorry, but you can do more with your platform,” wrote one user.
That idea, that #BlackOutTuesday might be making it too easy for people to look like they’re doing something to fight racism when they actually aren’t, reverberated across social channels on Tuesday.
“Is this activism?” asked Twitter user Nashia Naziim in her post:
And then there was the concern by some members of the Black Lives Matter movement that the #BlackOutTuesday posts were cluttering their feeds and preventing people from finding important resources.
Black Lives Matter is a movement based in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., which aims to fight anti-black racism.
Group members often use the #BLM hashtag to circulate petitions, legal advice, donation links and information about protests.
Lizzo posted a video on Instagram on Tuesday to spread the word to her 8.7 million followers that they shouldn’t use the #BLM hashtag on their #BlackOutTuesday posts.
“It is flooding the hashtag search with just black pictures instead of information,” the singer said.
The news caused some people to take down their black square posts, saying they would share resources instead.
As for the two women behind the original #TheShowMustBePaused movement, they posted a bit of a clarification on their channels on Tuesday.
“Please note: the purpose was never to mute ourselves. The purpose is to disrupt.”