Your Instagram feed is now filled with black tiles and you might be asking why.
Let’s start from the beginning. On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis, was killed when a police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes. Since then, there have been protests in his name around the country and the world, some of them turning violent.
“Blackout Tuesday,” a protest originally organized by marketing directors Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas, who are both black women, called for a day of “pause” on June 2 across the music industry for what they describe as a pause in “the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard.”
The focus of the original movement, though, has turned into people without ties to the music industry posting black tiles on their Instagram Feeds without anything but a hashtag and this is causing both confusion and anger from Twitter users and black activists.
OK I’m saying it cos y’all have got CONFUSED. #BlackoutTuesday was begun by 2 black women in music. For THAT industry which thrives off black cultural production, to reflect reconnect & strategise vs promotion etc. NOT for u who ain’t saying anything anyway to post a black square pic.twitter.com/blkKVPDNxW
— Layla Madanat (@Layla_Olivia) June 2, 2020
— TATIANNA (@TATIANNANOW) June 2, 2020
i’m kinda confused about #BlackOutTuesday?? i get not buying anything and stuff like that, but why are we staying off social media? that’s our number one source for information on what’s going on in?!?!
— raiy (@zingbotfanatic) June 2, 2020
So many people have posted these black tiles in solidarity that the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter has been filled with empty space, and it has drowned out critical voices of the movement.
Activists such as Brittany Packnett claim the movement has been co-opted by non-industry individuals posting to show solidarity.
“From the looks of it, a good move intended for the music industry got co-opted to suppress protest, Black voices, AND Black voters on Election Day,” she wrote in her own Instagram post about the movement.
Some celebrities aren’t sure what to do about their own posts now, either.
Makeup Influencer James Charles posted on Instagram last night, and woke up to backlash of his participation, and tweeted at his followers asking for clarification.
Alexander Hodge, actor from HBO’s Insecure, posted a follow up to his black tile post after receiving backlash from his fans on Instagram.