Music industry blackout in protest at death of George Floyd

The music industry is set to mark “Blackout Tuesday” in solidarity following the death of George Floyd in the US.

Major record labels including Sony and Warner have said they are suspending business tomorrow and working with communities to fight racial inequality.

Mr Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis last week after white police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on his neck for at least eight minutes, having handcuffed him and pinned him to the ground while arresting him for allegedly using a fake $20 note in a shop.

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— Universal Music Group (@UMG) May 29, 2020

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— Sony Music UK (@SonyMusicUK) May 31, 2020

Stars including Beyonce, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Cardi B and John Boyega have expressed disgust at his death and shown support for protests against how police treat black Americans.

Other celebrities, including Chrissy Teigen, Ryan Reynolds, Harry Styles and Steve Carell, are donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to help provide bail funds for anyone arrested and in need as a result of demonstrating against Mr Floyd’s death.

Now, record labels have spoken out too.

“We stand with the black community,” Universal Music said on its Twitter account, featuring the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused.

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“The music business at WMG will not go on as usual,” Warner Records wrote on its account, referring to Warner Music Group.

George Floyd. Pic: Shutterstock
Image:A police officer was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck in Minneapolis. Pic: Shutterstock

It said it would contribute to Black Lives Matter and other groups fighting racial injustice.

Sony Music made a similar announcement, while Interscope Geffen A&M, part of the Universal stable, says it will release no new music this week.

In the UK, music licensing company PPL says it will also be observing the blackout.

“Tomorrow, Tuesday 2 June, the music industry is calling on organisations to take part in Black Out Tuesday,” PPL said in a statement. “PPL will stand in solidarity with black people and will observe this day.

Interscope is one of the music labels marking Blackout Tuesday in response to the death of George Floyd
Image:Interscope is one of the music labels marking Blackout Tuesday in response to the death of George Floyd

“During this time, we will not be engaging in any business activity. Our virtual office will be closed for 24 hours and will re-open on Wednesday 3 June.”

National Guard troops were deployed in 15 states and Washington DC in an attempt to quell a sixth night of protests, some of which have turned violent, on Sunday.

Chauvin, who has since been sacked from the police, has been charged with third-degree murder.

Three other officers were also fired, but have yet to be charged.

Beyonce takes part in One World: Together At Home. Pic: Global Citizen
Image:Beyonce and Chrissy Teigen (below) are among the stars demanding justice for Mr Floyd
Chrissy Teigen. Pic: Jason Merritt/Radarpics/Shutterstock
Image:Pic: Jason Merritt/Radarpics/Shutterstock

Beyonce is among the stars calling for justice, posting on her Instagram: “We’re broken and we’re disgusted…

“I am not only speaking to people of colour. If you are white, black, brown or anything in between I am sure you feel (left) hopeless by the racism going on in America right now.”

Several leading artists joined the protests over the weekend, including Ariana Grande.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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