Don’t Blackout: Support Black Lives Matter Movements AND Small Business Owners

With the recent tragedy and injustice caused by yet another case of “police brutality” I think we can call it manslaughter now. All four Minneapolis police officers involved with the arrest and murder of George Floyd all face criminal charges. FINALLY… but we are so far from the war being over. There will never be an “ah-ha” moment, it is always a slow build and push to get the justice system to transform into one that serves EVERYONE.

While I have been struggling to gather the words to express what I feel, I really had to think about everything that has been circulating in the social media vs. the Media. There is so much mismatched reporting it really saddens me as an alumni of journalism studies. While social media was doing “hard reporting”, as in protest attendees equipped on the ground recording protests, outing riot starters, looting and peacemaking between protesters and vandals, the Media (capital M for mainstream) paints the divide loud and clear. I don’t want to get into the Media anymore in this post, but the blurred messaging has been swirling in my mind.

“Tuesday June 2nd is meant to intentionally disrupt the work week […] It is a day to take a beat for honest, reflective and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community.”

Blackout Tuesday Initiative

While social media is winning the game in showing the message loud and clear, the event of the trending hashtag #BlackoutTuesday and #TheShowMustBePaused left me unsure if I should participate. Shouldn’t we be sharing more information and not less? The campaign originators expressed that if people partake in posting the simple black square to NOT use the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag as it was clogging up the algorithm for resources about where to support BLM with a bunch of black squares holding zero information. That was one of the problems for me.

A report by Nylon Magazine breaks down the confusion of #BlackoutTuesday in a recent article:

“To that end, now that June 2 has rolled around, record labels and music industry executives and players have begun posting solid black squares to their feeds as a visual cue for the blackout. This begs the vital question: how is this helping the cause?

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It’s true that the music industry has long profited off the labor and creativity of Black artists, often without proper repayment, credit, or accountability, as the “Blackout Tuesday” statement also points out. Just take a look back at the Grammys scandal that took place earlier in 2020 for the most recent moment of reckoning.”

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Yet, many on social media are pointing out the ineffectualness of the initiative to truly reckon with those institutional problems. Instead, “Blackout Tuesday” feels like a vague and performative gesture without offering any actual transparency or material action. Others, like Kehlani, have also pointed out that Tuesday isn’t actually the biggest business day for the music industry, which makes the initiative even more confounding.”

Artwork by @laurenmartin_studio

While well intentioned, many personal accounts of varying races were quick to jump onto this trend. I was about to as well, but I thought there has to be a better way. I thought about it for the next few days and I wanted to write about that. I am a white 30 something female and I’m quoting another phrase being circulated: “I will never understand, but I stand…” with you. Since I’m still battling the bureaucracy of receiving ANY unemployment due to me, I donated the amount of a cup of coffee to the Official Justice for George Floyd GoFundMe. What now? Then many of my acquaintances in the small business world were quick to advertise their friends and colleagues of color in the entrepreneurial world. This includes designers, vintage curators, beauty professionals, artists and various small business owners. So, the rest of this post is dedicated to sharing and supporting all of the businesses I have come across that are owned by POC and small businesses that are donating their earnings to various community bail funds around the nation.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Blackout: Support Black Lives Matter Movements AND Small Business Owners

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