The Show Must Be Paused: Nashville Music Industry Shows Support for Tuesday Blackout
Several Nashville record labels and other companies within the music industry in Music City are are joining a Tuesday (June 2) blackout meant to raise awareness of — and spur action around — racism and inequality.
On Tuesday, as part of the #TheShowMustBePaused initiative, Sony Music Nashville, UMG Nashville and Warner Music Nashville, as part of the larger Sony, Universal and Warner families and including all of their divisions, will suspend their operations for the day. Nashville's Big Machine Label Group, BBR Music Group, Black River Entertainment, Curb Records and Big Loud Records have also pledged their involvement, as have Concord and Rounder Records and New West Records.
Additionally, the performance rights organizations ASCAP, BMI and SESAC will take part in the #TheShowMustBePaused initiative. Shane McAnally's SmackSongs, Adkins Publicity and other Nashville-based companies will also support the movement. Lindsay Ell and the Highwomen tweeted their support, too.
Late Friday (May 29), Jamila Thomas, a senior director of marketing at Atlantic Records, and Brianna Agyemang, a senior artist campaign manager at Platoon, began the #TheShowMustBePaused initiative. The two, who are both black, called on the music industry to suspend daily operations "in observance of the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard," according to TheShowMustBePaused.com.
"The music industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. An industry that has profited predominantly from Black art," Thomas and Agyemang write. "Our mission is to hold the industry at large, including major corporations and their partners who benefit from the efforts, struggles and successes of Black people, accountable. To that end, it is the obligation of these entities to protect and empower the Black communities that have made them disproportionately wealthy in ways that are measurable and transparent."
Tuesday's blackout is in response to the May 25 death of 46-year-old Black man in Minneapolis, Minn., named George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer named Derek Chauvin. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death after a video emerged showing him kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd first protested that he could not breathe, then became unresponsive. Floyd was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
Thomas and Agyemang explain that they selected June 2 as their blackout date, rather than a Monday, when new singles go for adds at radio, or a Friday, the industry's standard new music release day, because the movement "is meant to intentionally disrupt the work week."
"Monday suggests a long weekend, and we can't wait until Friday for change," they continue. "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."
Thomas and Agyemang say that Tuesday's blackout "is not just a 24-hour initiative." They are working on a greater plan of action, to be announced, and say they "are and will be in this fight for the long haul."
TheShowMustBePaused.com also includes suggestions for how those participating in Tuesday's blackout can use their time productively. The website suggests ways to help not only George Floyd's family, but also the families of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot by police in her apartment and Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was shot by two white men while out for a run.
Additionally, the website includes information on bail funds for those who have been protesting Floyd's death throughout the United States in recent days; options for connecting with grassroots campaigns; and links to anti-racism resources.