Blackout Tuesday: Music industry rallies together for day-long silence over George Floyd's death

David Child
Demonstrators gather near the White House to protest the death of George Floyd in downtown Washington, DC on June 1, 2020: Getty Images

Major record labels, music industry groups and leading artists have today joined together to observe a day-long “blackout” to protest against the death of George Floyd.

Organisers for The Show Must Be Paused project called for business to halt on Tuesday, as the US continues to be gripped by unrest a week after Mr Floyd died having been pinned at the neck by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Employees have instead been given the day to "disconnect from work and reconnect with our community” through “an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change”, the project's organisers said.

Sony Music, Atlantic Records, Capitol Music Group, Warner Records and Def Jam are among the labels participating in #TheShowMustBePaused, while a litany of industry stars including ​Radiohead, Mumford & Sons and Peter Gabriel also shared their support for the project on social media.

Columbia Records said Tuesday “was not a day off” but a chance to “figure out ways to move forward in solidarity”.

"We stand together with the black community against all forms of racism, bigotry, and violence," the record label, which is home to Beyoncé, Pharrell Williams, Lil Nas X, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Adele, added in a post on Twitter.

"Now, more than ever, we must use our voices to speak up and challenge the injustices all around us."

Singer-songwriter Gabriel meanwhile tweeted: “Along with the civilised world I was horrified by the racist murder of George Floyd. This type of brutality needs to be confronted directly, with justice clearly seen to be done whenever & wherever it occurs.”

Former Beautiful South singer Paul Heaton said activity on his Twitter account would be suspended on Tuesday, “thanks to the behaviour of white supremacists both in uniform & public office, and in support of all those communities suffering at their hands”.

Revered music producer Quincy Jones also said he would be taking part. He wrote: “It’s hard to know what to say because I’ve been dealing with racism my entire life. That said, it’s rearing its ugly head right now & by God it’s time to deal with it once & for all.

“As gatekeepers of the culture, it’s our responsibility to not only come together to celebrate the wins, but also hold each other up during a loss.”

A host of other musicians have also spoken out over Mr Floyd's death, including Rihanna, Beyonce and Dr Dre.

Other pop stars, including Ariana Grande, J Cole, Yungblud, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes joined those protesting against his killing across the US over the weekend.

The demonstrations have gripped the US following the death of Mr Floyd and other allegations of police brutality against people of colour.

Amid a febrile atmosphere, police have clashed with protesters in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Washington D.C.

National Guard troops have been deployed in 15 states, while authorities have rolled out curfews on dozens of cities - the most since 1968 in the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

The restrictions appear to have been largely ignored, however.

In response, US President Donald Trump has threatened to deploy the country’s military to deal with the unrest unless state authorities stop ongoing demonstrations.

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44,​ has meanwhile been charged with third-degree murder over Mr Floyd's death, which an official post-mortem examination declared to be a homicide.