Several prominent American media and entertainment organizations, including Apple and ViacomCBS, paid tribute to the call for racial equality and justice in the United States amid the recent protests, some violent, by pausing regular services and company events on what they are calling “Black Out Tuesday.”
According to Reuters, CBS said it would spend the day reflecting on “building community,” putting business ventures temporarily “on pause.”
The company also said it would broadcast 8 minutes and 46 seconds of breathing sounds with the words “I can’t breathe,” echoing the last words of George Floyd, a man killed last week in Minneapolis.
Floyd’s death has caused international outrage and days of protests across the nation, many turning violent. The officer present at the time of Floyd’s death, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Black Out Tuesday was initially organized by the music community, the AP reports, although the movement quickly spread across social media to include sports stars, such as Lebron James, and other prominent cultural icons like Kylie Jenner.
There has been some criticism on social media, however, that people tagging #black lives matter on the post has pushed the protest content and resources out of sight and actually has obscured it, rather than help to amplify it. They charge that this approach is not well-conceived and is harming the cause rather than helping it.
Rapper Little Nas X called for more exposure, saying the black-out effect shields the public from “what's going on.”
“This is not helping us,” he tweeted.
Apple Music and iTunes both featured the group Black Lives Matter on their homepage, while streaming service Spotify created black logos for several of their most popular playlists, each captioned with the phrase “black lives matter.”
The company added that it, too, would feature an 8 minute and 46 second track in select playlists and podcasts, and that it would halt social media publications. Eight minutes and 46 seconds is the length of a video capturing Floyd’s death.
Several artists took to Instagram, posting black squares, some using the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused or encouraging people to vote.
Grammy-nominated singer Kehlani expressed doubts about the movement’s efficacy on Twitter, citing the various messaging surrounding the event.
“The messages are mixed across the board and i really hope it doesn't have a negative effect,” she tweeted.
Several artists and record labels also announced that the release of new singles and albums would be delayed due to their participation in Black Out Tuesday.
Interscope Geffen A&M Records said it would not release music this week, while new releases from Glass Animals, Chloe x Halle and others all will be pushed back, and will drop in coming weeks.