#BlackOutTuesday sweeps social media as George Floyd protests in US escalate

WION Web Team New York, New York, United States of America Jun 03, 2020, 09.23 AM(IST)

'I can't breathe' protests in the US Photograph:( Reuters )

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The death last week of Floyd, an unarmed black man, as a white police officer in Minneapolis knelt onto his neck has unleashed a wave of outrage in cities around the United States about the unfair treatment of black Americans.

#BlackOutTuesday became the top trending hashtag on Twitter on Tuesday as thousands of businesses and individuals, including TV channels and celebrities, posted black screen shots to signal support for racial justice in the wake of protests over the police killing of George Floyd in the US entering a second week.

The death last week of Floyd, an unarmed black man, as a white police officer in Minneapolis knelt onto his neck has unleashed a wave of outrage in cities around the United States about the unfair treatment of black Americans.

The Blackout Tuesday movement was prompted by two US record industry executives to pressure the music business to improve the presence of black people in its corporate ranks, noting that the industry had "profited predominantly from black art." Rap and R&B overtook rock in 2017 to become the biggest music genre in the United States.

The movement was quickly embraced by record labels, celebrities including Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and basketball player LeBron James, and American citizens.

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Several companies paused normal work and directed their efforts to support the work of Black Lives Matter and other social justice groups.

Streaming service Spotify highlighted the music of black artists, Sirius XM Radio said it would silence its music channels for three minutes, and Apple Music DJ Zane Lowe tweeted that he wouldn't host his radio show but would be "listening, learning and looking for solutions to fight racial inequality."

Video-sharing platform TikTok donated $4 million to non-profits that help the black community while eBay in the United States said it would donate all fees collected on Tuesday from items sold in its music categories to a charity that supports equality.

ViacomCBS said it would be "on pause" on Tuesday, a day after CBS News, MTV and Comedy Central went dark for 8 minutes and 46 seconds - the length of time Floyd's neck was pinned to the ground by the knee of a police officer.

The movement also gave rise to dissenters. Black Lives Matter complained that news of its planned protests had been drowned out, while film executive Franklin Leonard said he would not be taking part.

"A 'show' of solidarity is NOT solidarity," Leonard tweeted. "And posting a black tile on your Instagram feed for a day definitely isn’t."