DFW Music News

Dallas Musicians Join Blackout Tuesday Campaign in Solidarity With Protesters

Artists are sharing a solid black image in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movemntent.
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Artists are sharing a solid black image in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movemntent.
The music industry came together on Tuesday to support the Black Lives Matter movement. There were, of course, critics.

The Rolling Stones, Rhianna, Drake, Quincy Jones and other artists joined organizations like United Talent and major labels including Warner and Def Jam Records in sharing the hashtag #theshowmustbepaused, a call to interrupt music industry work for a day in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters.

The hashtag was part of a campaign called "Blackout Tuesday," a concept that came from music executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang as "a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community."

Instead of performing or promoting music, the idea was to shut down the music industry for a day to reflect on current events and how to effect change.

The hashtag #blackouttuesday has been shared close to 24 million times on Instagram alone. And, like the Stones song, supporters of the movement painted social media black by turning their profile photos black or by posting solid black images and nothing else.

North Texas musicians like Charley Crockett, Erykah Badu, Sudie, Ashleigh Smith, DJ Christy Ray andJonathan Merla all made such posts on Tuesday.

And, just like the words “Black Lives Matter,” the sight of a black screen — or at least the concept behind it — has already upset some folks.

Dallas-based company Warstic, the baseball bat brand co-owned by Jack White, received disapproving comments under the company's Blackout Tuesday Instagram post, which were later deleted.

One comment came from a user who expressed his disappointment by suggesting he would be selling the bat he had purchased from the company.

Co-owner Ben Jenkins shared an image of the comment on his personal Facebook page with the caption, "Or you could stick our bat up your ass which would also be acceptable to me. This will void the right to a refund though."

Protesters asked that the black images not be shared with the hashtag #blacklivesmatters, so as not to flood a tool that protest organizers are relying on to connect.

“You’re (unintentionally) quite literally erasing the space organizers have been using to share resources,” says a post that has been wildly shared online explaining why #blacklivesmatter shouldn't be used in blackout posts.

Others were skeptical of the initiative altogether.

“Why would a movement that directly benefits from social media and vitality receive any help at all from everyone posting a black tile online and logging out for the day?” tweeted Black Lives Matter activist Blair Imani.

Children’s channel Nickleodeon interrupted its social media on Tuesday along with its programming. The channel went dark for exactly 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the amount of time in which a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd, who died shortly after.

“I understand it to be it’s a show of solidarity with those that believe that black lives do indeed matter — I believe that." – Keite Young

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Singer Keite Young of Medicine Man Revival participated in Blackout Tuesday but says he has bigger plans for every other day of the week.

“I understand it to be it’s a show of solidarity with those that believe that black lives do indeed matter. I believe that, which is why I have a black screen,” Young says. “But what I believe would be a more powerful show of solidarity and a more powerful action is that we ... instead of sacrificing productivity, which is noble for a company to do, why don’t we invest?”

Young says that his plan of action includes organizing “a targeted effort to coordinate every DFW area corporation, small or big, black owned or otherwise to participate in an effort aimed at closing the gaps of access, education and investment in our inner city neighborhoods.”

The long-term plan, Young explains, entails local communities “designating the first Friday in February (or sooner) as Buy Black Friday and buy products from black owned companies and/or companies who have pledged to take 10% of the profits earned from that day and donate them to an active charity or 501c actively serving the inner city.”

The singer was featured in the single “The Hate U Give,” the Bobby Sessions soundtrack song to the 2018 film by the same name that centers on a police shooting.

Buffalo Black, a Dallas rapper whose lyrics have tackled racism, mental health and other societal woes since he first debuted in 2013, also went dark on social media.

The hip-hop artist’s music has been featured in Spike Lee’s film Da Sweet Blood of Jesus with a song hand-picked by the filmmaker himself. In the past few days, Black has shared footage of his downtown view of protests as well the aftermath. "It's like a comic book writing itself," he wrote.

"I joined the cause because I am the cause," he tells the Observer of #theshowmustbepaused. "The cause is for my life and the lives of black and brown people everywhere."

Dallas native Marc Rebillet, an electronic artist who's become a massively popular touring musician, wasn't sold on the campaign's effectiveness.

He shared a black image with white text that read "Blacklivesmatters.carrd.co" and captioned the post with the message: "Here's a black square with something useful on it. Find a way to make a difference today."

The website in Rebillet's post is a list of resources for ways one can join the cause.

St. Vincent had a similar approach. The singer told her followers that a friend inside the BLM movement had advised that, while well intentioned, going silent on social media was "actually counterproductive to the cause."

"There's so much information that needs to be out there. So many ways to still be helpful with donations, awareness, action," she wrote on an Instagram post. "For this reason I am eschewing the blackout. I'll be sharing links today on ways to be helpful instead."