Instagram Blackout: The Show Must Be Paused explained

2 June 2020, 13:33

Halsey calls out the police at Black Lives Matter protest

Sam  Prance

By Sam Prance

The Show Must Be Paused, also known as Blackout Tuesday, is a social media protest in response to George Floyd's murder.

The music industry, media and people at large are taking to Instagram to raise awareness around racism, police brutality and Black Lives Matter.

Last week (May 25), George Floyd, a black man, was murdered by a white Minneapolis police officer. His death followed the killing of Breonna Taylor, a black woman, who was shot by a Louisville police officer in her own home (March 13).

READ MORE: Here's how to support the Black Lives Matters protesters

In response to their murders, people have started protests and taken to social media to speak about the injustices which black people are experiencing now and have experienced throughout history. Among these protests, an initiative has been launched called The Show Must Paused, also known as Blackout Tuesday.

Why are people posting Black squares on Instagram?

Instagram Blackout: The Show Must Be Paused explained
Instagram Blackout: The Show Must Be Paused explained. Picture: @theshowmustbepaused via Instagram

The Show Must Be Paused was setup by black music industry executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang. Yesterday (Jun 1), they launched a @theshowmustbepaused Instagram account in which they explained why they started the initiative and what it aims to do.

They wrote: "In response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black citizens at the hands of police, #TheShowMustBePaused is an initiative created by two Black women in music to observe longstanding racism and inequality that exists in the boardroom and on the boulevard. We will not continue to conduct business as usual without regard for black lives."

"Tuesday, June 2nd is meant to intentionally disrupt the work week. Monday suggests a long weekend and we can't wait until Friday for change. It is a day to take a beat for an honest, reflective and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community."

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A post shared by @ theshowmustbepaused on

While the initiative was started to encourage people in the music industry to analyse the ways in which they are complicit in racism, it's since evolved into people, in general, pausing their day to day social media activity and posting on Instagram to state out loud that they support Black Lives Matter. Many people are referring to it as Blackout Tuesday now.

While there was no mention of black squares in the original post, people have taken to posting them as a symbol of support. However, there has been much criticism surrounding the squares. Many black people and organisations have asked fans to share vital information and resources instead, including links to petitions and donation pages.

Those of us who are white need to make sure we use this time to self-reflect. Who have you spoken to about Black Lives Matter today? Is there anyone you know who doesn’t know what a microaggression is? Are there acts of racism you’ve seen but not addressed head-on? We need to make sure we're not being performative allies.

Also, if you are posting black squares, don't use the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag in your posts today. People search for #BlackLivesMatter on Instagram to find necessary resources and information. Use #TheShowMustBePaused instead.

To find out more about The Show Must Be Paused and ways to help victims of police brutality, protestors and the Black Lives Matter Movement in general, visit: HERE.