Black Out Tuesday: Music industry takes a pause in solidarity for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor

The music industry went silent Tuesday to call attention to the deaths of George Floyd and other black Americans at the hands of police brutality. 

Artists and entertainers including DrakeKevin Hart and Rihanna showed their support Tuesday on social media, by sharing a black photo and using the hashtags #blackouttuesday and #theshowmustbepaused to help draw attention to the effort.

"We ain’t buying (expletive)!!! and we ain’t selling (expletive) neither!! gang gang!" Rihanna captioned her Black Out Tuesday post and tagging her beauty and fashion brands.

Her companies, Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty, announced Tuesday morning they would stop business globally for the day to "reflect and find ways to make real change."  

 Britney Spears, Katy PerryKylie JennerRadiohead and Timothee Chalamet also showed their support. 

Spears shared she would be participating in Black Out Tuesday and would be refraining from using social media.

"My heart breaks for my friends in the black community …. and for everything going on in our country. Right now I think we all should do what we can to listen …. learn … do better …. and use our voices for good," Spears wrote in an Instagram caption Monday. "To start I will be participating in #BlackoutTuesday tomorrow ….. I won’t be posting on social media and I ask you all to do the same."

Perry shared the uniform black image to her Instagram alongside a lengthy post calling for people to take action.

"I try to live my life to answer the question, 'How can I be of service?' I have spent the last few days watching, listening and reflecting about how to utilize my privilege and platform," Perry wrote. "I’ve chosen to donate to the organizations tagged in this post. You can do the same at the link in my bio. This soon to be mother is going to work hard to make damn sure this world is a more just place for every child."

Perry directed her followers to organizations like National Bail OutNAACP Legal Defense Fund and Black Lives Matter among others. 

Floyd died last week in Minneapolis after a white police officer placed a knee on his neck for several minutes. Video from the scene shows Floyd repeatedly saying he couldn't breathe before going limp. That officer, Derek Chauvin, was later fired, arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

The incident spawned protests across the country.

Aside from Floyd, there have been a number of other high-profile deaths in recent months, including Ahmaud Arberyand Breonna Taylor.

Black Out Tuesday is intended as a catalyst for change. 

"It is a day to take a beat for an honest, reflective and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the black community," founders Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang wrote in a statement on

Live Nation, one of the largest concert promoters, paused business as usual to "work together with our employees and colleagues on actionable next steps that will continue to engage and spark consistent action in fighting racism," the company tweeted.

Universal Music Group's Interscope Geffen A&M went a step further, saying that in addition to joining Black Out Tuesday, the label home to Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar would not release music this week — the first label to do so.

Broadway shows such as "Hamilton" and "Dear Evan Hansen" shared posts late Monday night, announcing they would join fellow musicians Tuesday in supporting black artists. 

"While this is only one day, we are working on ways to actively fight for meaningful, systematic change against the injustices black people continue to face," the post from the official @hamiltonmusical Instagram account read.

Spotify used black logos for more than a dozen of its flagship playlists and podcasts, including Today’s Top Hits and RapCaviar, as a symbol of solidarity, the streaming giant said on its blog. The company pledged to match "donations made by employees to organizations focused on the fight against racism; injustice; inequity."

SiriusXM music channels will go silent for three minutes Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET, CEO Jim Meyer said in an internal note shared with USA TODAY. The minutes are meant to mark the terrible history of racism, this tragic moment in time and hope for and demand a better future, the statement reads. 

This will serve as a tribute not only to George Floyd but to all of the countless victims of racism. SiriusXM and Pandora 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.

On Monday, legendary rocker Mick Jagger weighed in, saying, "It's heartbreaking to see America tearing itself apart again over race issues."

"I pray that looking beyond this day we can all work together to overcome this hatred and division and start to heal the pain and suffering that everybody is feeling in the country," he continued. "We owe that to future generations."

Others that have committed to taking part in Black Out Tuesday include the Recording Academy; Columbia Records; the Sony imprints RCA Records and Epic Records; the Universal Music Group divisions Republic Records, Def Jam, UMG Nashville, Capitol Records and Island Records; and the Warner Music Group imprints Atlantic and Warner Records. Smaller, independent labels as well as music publishing companies and management firms have also signed on.

Contributing: The Associated Press, Hannah Yasharoff

Follow Gary Dinges on Twitter @gdinges


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