In response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless other Black citizens at the hands of the police, on Tuesday 2nd June the Music Industry came to a standstill in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The global stand came under the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused and saw thousands interrupt their work week and use time to sign petitions, donate and educate themselves and others, creating an important conversation about our collective responsibility to support the Black community.
The plea was started by two Atlantic Records execs Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang and some of the industry’s biggest names such as Apple Music, Spotify and MTV took part in the black out. The protest clearly made a statement, however, it is important to remember that this is not simply a 24 hour initiative. Members of the music industry and beyond must recognise the importance of continuing this momentum beyond the news cycle by using their platform, regardless of how big or small, to amplify black voices and spread awareness about the Black Lives Matter movement, beyond performative posting. It is no longer enough to simply be ‘not racist’, we must all take responsibility to be actively anti-racist.
If you work within the music industry, consider how you can continue to support black artists. Diversify your playlists and make a conscious effort not to white wash your brand. Educate yourself, your staff and your customers and stand against any racism you may come across in day to day life, no matter how casual. Now is the time to use your voice, regardless of how intimidating that may feel, often people are scared to speak up for fear of getting it wrong but it is more important to speak out and learn than to stay silent. Finally, remember that white people hold no authority over this issue. It is not our place to tell black people how to feel, how to respond to grief or how to voice their concerns. We should not put words in their mouths but we can use our white privilege to allow their voices to have a greater impact. All of the information from is post has been learnt from black people or resources they have shared that I have linked below and I encourage you to use whatever platform you have to share these resources with others.
Some of the immediate things you can do to continue your support beyond #TheShowMustBePaused are:
change.org has hundreds of petitions that have been set up to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Examples include suspending the export of tear gas, rubber bullets and riot shields to the USA, updating GCSE reading lists to include books about race, justice for George Floyd and making white privilege and systematic racism a compulsory part of British education, just to name a few. I have listed some petitions to get you started below but I urge you to sign as many as physically possible, it doesn’t cost you any money, takes seconds and makes a real difference.
Put your money where your mouth is and donate to organisations who need your help. You can split your donation between 70+ community bail funds, mutual aid funds and racial justice organisations via the link below but I recommend that you do your research into the organisations in order to make an informed decision.
If you are unable to donate you can still financially contribute by watching the YouTube video linked below uploaded by Zoe Amira. 100% of the ad revenue that the video makes through AdSense will be donated directly to organisations who offer protester bail funds, help pay for family funerals and much more. Make sure to watch the ads in full and share with others, the video is also full of incredible, inspirational performances from black artists and must listen tracks so you can expand your playlist while doing your bit.
Watch films, Netflix series, read books, learn about black history and then use your knowledge to start important conversations with those around you. I’ve put some recommendations for excellent resources that you can use below:
Netflix films and TV shows:
Dear White People
Who killed Malcolm X?
When They See Us
White Fragility, Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
How to be an Anti Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
Me and White Supremacy: Compat Racism, Change the World and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad
Finally, recognise your privilege and be vulnerable with yourself. No one is perfect and it is important to identify times that you may have let yourself down and pledge to do better in future. Make a stand within your community, attend protests if you can, share resources on social media and email your local authorities demanding that they do more to combat racism. Listen to and amplify black voices, start conversations and continue the momentum beyond the news cycle. Stay safe and look out for each other.