George Floyd death: Social media goes dark for Blackout Tuesday; Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Gal Gadot extend support

Social media accounts were full of black squares posted in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.

FP Staff June 03, 2020 09:18:36 IST
George Floyd death: Social media goes dark for Blackout Tuesday; Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Gal Gadot extend support

Though Blackout Tuesday was originally organised by the music community, the social media world also went dark in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, joining voices around the world outraged by the killings of black people in the US.

Social media shuts down, celebrities extend support

Instagram and Twitter accounts, from top record labels to everyday people, were full of black squares posted in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.

Most of the captions were blank, though some posted #TheShowMustBePaused, black heart emojis, or encouraged people to vote Tuesday with seven states and the District of Columbia, which are hosting the largest slate of presidential primary elections in almost three months.

Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Radiohead, Coldplay, Kelly Rowland, and Beastie Boys were among the celebrities to join Blackout Tuesday on social media.

Stars from the Hollywood observed Blackout Tuesday' as solidarity in response to the death. Actors including Gal Gadot and Riverdale star Lili Reinhart posted a plain black post on Instagram, as an indication of 'Black Lives Matter.'

Meanwhile, the music industry stars, like, Elton John, Katy Perry, DJ Nice, and more, too, shared the black post on the photo-sharing platform. Earlier Lady Gaga too went online to address the ongoing issue of racism in America and called for an action to end the discrimination. Even singers like Beyonce and Camila Cabello also expressed their outrage over the injustice against black people.

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🖤🖤🖤

A post shared by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) on

Broadcasters and music streaming companies

Spotify blacked out the artwork for several of its popular playlists, including RapCaviar and Today’s Top Hits, simply writing “Black lives matter” as its description. The streaming service also put its Black Lives Matter playlist on its front page, featuring songs like James Brown’s 'Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud,' NWA’s '(Expletive) the Police,' Sam Cooke’s 'A Change Is Gonna Come,' and Childish Gambino’s 'This Is America.'  

The opening pages of Apple Music and iTunes focused on supporting Black Lives Matter, and SiriusXM said it would silence its music channels for three minutes at 3 pm EDT in tribute to “all of the countless victims of racism.”  The company said it “will continue to amplify black voices by being a space where black artists showcase their music and talents, and by carrying the message that racism will not be tolerated.”

ViacomCBS Inc said it will be on “on pause” for #BlackOutTuesday to reflect on recent events, and to shift focus from “building business to building community." The company on Monday had its channels, including CBS News, MTV, and Comedy Central, transmit eight minutes and 46 seconds of breathing sounds with the words “I can’t breathe," denouncing the incident last week that sparked protests across the US.

Rihanna's Fenty brands suspend sales

Rihanna has paused all three of her fashion and beauty companies for the day. According to Page Six, the 32-year-old singer posted on Twitter Tuesday morning.

The 'What's my name' songstress also shared a picture of a black square as part of the Blackout Tuesday social media campaign. Each of Rihanna's three companies — Fenty, Fenty Beauty, and Savage x Fenty — has replaced its usual homepage with a message in solidarity with the movement.

It reads, "We are not staying silent and we are not standing by. The fight against racial inequality, injustice, and straight-up racism doesn't stop with financial donations and words of support.

In solidarity with the black community, our employees, our friends, our families, and our colleagues across industries we are proud to take part in #BlackoutTuesday."

The message continues, "This is not a day off. This is a day to reflect and find ways to make real change. This is a day to #PullUp." There is an additional note on the site for high-end label Fenty — about the reason Rihanna started the company with LVMH, making her the first black woman to run a major luxury fashion house.

The label shared on Instagram, "Fenty as a brand was created to elevate beauty, power and freedom! At this very moment, racists are attempting to rip those values away from black people and we will NOT stand by and let that happen. We are too powerful, creative, and resilient."

The social media posts and website messages direct fans to join the companies in donating to Color Of Change and The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) as well as Black Lives Matter NY, Reclaim the Block, and The Bail Project.

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Some doubters

Some on social media questioned if posting black squares would divert attention away from posts about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Grammy-nominated singer Kehlani tweeted about Blackout Tuesday.

(With inputs from agencies)

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