Pictures using #BlackoutTuesday have been posted more than 28 million times, while signatures for the Justice for George Floyd petition have reached 13 million.
#BlackoutTuesday began as a collective protest against racism and police brutality, under the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused. Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas, music executives at Atlantic Records, created the initiative as an opportunity to interrupt the norm and share information and start conversations around the Black Lives Matter movement.
“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,” the @PauseTheShow statement said on Twitter. “It is a day to take a beat for an honest, reflective and productive conversation around what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community.”
— theshowmustbepaused (@pausetheshow) June 1, 2020
Within hours, the initiative had quickly gained pace outside of the music industry and #BlackoutTuesday began trending on social media platforms with posts using black images being shared.
Some contributions to the #BlackoutTuesday initiative drew criticism for being performative activism. The hashtag users were criticised for sharing a black picture, using the hashtag and considering that adequate support.
“The inanity of #blackouttuesday has served as a vital reminder that social media is not a force for change,” author Fatima Bhutto wrote in a piece for The Guardian. “Instagram and Facebook, in particular, are echo chambers that consistently funnel our energy, righteous rage and political passions into inaction – into bland hashtags and likes.”
While many entries included only a black square and the hashtag, others encouraged people to go further in enacting change. “People are treating this as an Instagram challenge and most will be deleted in a few days… we can do better”, @CultureCrave commented.
“If you’re posting #blackouttuesday on Instagram I really hope you’ve been signing petitions or donating (if you can) the past few days. This is not just an Instagram trend”, Twitter user Murran said.
Numerous petitions have gained significant support, most notably the Justice for George Floyd Change.org petition. It calls on Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey and District Attorney Mike Freeman to prosecute four police officers who were involved in George Floyd’s fatal arrest in May.
The petition has over 13 million signatures, making it the most-signed petition every on Change.org. However, some have commented how #BlackoutTuesday gained over 28,500,000 posts within 24 hours.
The #BlackOutTuesday tag has been posted over 24M times but the Justice for George Floyd petition has been signed less than 12M
People are treating this as an IG challenge and most will be deleted in a few days… we can do better pic.twitter.com/ENzl6gXTgI
— Culture Crave 🎥 (@CultureCrave) June 2, 2020
The Justice for George Floyd Change.org petition is still accepting signatures. There are also number of additional petitions for causes around the world. Anyone unable to sign petitions due to not being a United States resident are being encouraged to use the zip code 10001.
Find additional resources including donation funds and further reading on the Black Lives Matter Carrd homepage.