Updated: The collective fury over the death of George Floyd, who was suffocated by a Minnesota police officer kneeling on his neck during an arrest in Minneapolis, has prompted the music industry to take a united stand on Tuesday, June 2.
A message circulated widely on Instagram and other social media platforms on Friday evening (May 29) calls for “a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with out community” and “an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change.”
Under the hashtag #THESHOWMUSTBEPAUSED, The sentiment of the post, taking responsibility as “gatekeepers of the culture,” is one dozens of companies took to heart in the hours after violence broke out in Minneapolis and other cities across the U.S.
Columbia Records was the first to publicly decry injustices towards underserved populations, with chairman Ron Perry posting late on Thursday night (May 28): “We stand together with the Black community against all forms of racism, bigotry, and violence. Now, more than ever we must use our voices to speak up and challenge the injustices all around us.”
Home to such acts as Beyonce, Lil Nas X, Tyler the Creator and Polo G, among many others, the Sony Music label is also the oldest of American record companies, founded in 1889. Other companies followed suit, including UMPG, Interscope Records, Motown, Caroline, Kobalt, Electric Feel Management, LVRN, Pulse Music Publishing and many more. See their statements below.
Protesters took to the streets Friday in Los Angeles, New York City, San Jose, Atlanta, D.C. and other major hubs across the country following the death of Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
In Atlanta, the protest began peacefully but took a destructive turn, as demonstrators smashed the doors of CNN headquarters, sprayed graffiti on the television news building and set a police cruiser on fire, according to WSB-TV 2 Atlanta. The news outlet’s live feed also shows protesters picking up a barricade in what appeared to be an attempt to hit a police car.
Earlier Friday, CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and a CNN camera crew was arrested live on air as they were covering the unrest in Minneapolis, where protests have continued for four days.
Los Angeles protesters have been seen marching downtown, chanting “I can’t breathe,” according to video captured by the Los Angeles Times’ Kelcie Pegher. In San Jose, protesters blocked the 101 highway, according to video from NBC Bay Area.
On Saturday, May 30, more companies joined in the effort and committed to the June 2 blackout. See their messages below:
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Our industry, and even more so our shared humanity, has the fundamental responsibility to move the needle on issues that matter – it is why artists have historically played a significant role in cultural change and unification in divisive times. This is even more important in times when our government leadership refuses to unite us. It is clear, now more than ever, that stopping systematic racism in this country deserves our undivided attention and even more importantly, our action. Because we believe that one thing we can do as responsible Americans is take the power back with our votes we have made a donation to the Black Voters Matter Fund, which works to register young Black voters and fight voter suppression in Black communities. We have also made a donation to Colors of Change which leads campaigns to fight for racial justice and build real power for Black communities. The onus is on us as a company and as citizens of the world to use our words and our actions to fix the system and shift our national consciousness and values. It must be the primary focus of our social action not only in moments like these, when systematic racism is at the forefront of the national discussion, but more importantly in the times when it would go otherwise unnoticed. We pledge to continue in this fight standing proudly with our colleagues, loved ones, and friends. We urge you to join us. – @sb_projects Family
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We at Shelter Music Group are taking a stand. On Tuesday, June 2nd we will be unplugging from our emails and take the time to educate ourselves, our fellow colleagues, and our loved ones. We are donating where we can, and we are learning how we can take these steps today and every day moving forward. This has to stop. Please join us! We’ve provided educational links and donation information at the link in our bio. #TheShowMustBePaused #BlackLivesMatter