Today the music industry pauses to show support and unite in solidarity for #BlackLivesMatter. It would be folly not to. This industry owes a debt of gratitude, and in fact would not exist if it were not for the people of colour who started what we today consider modern music, which was born out of the sorrow songs of those taken in slavery to work the fields in America. In time this begat distinct genres, such as Gospel, Soul, Rhythm n Blues, Jazz…and in turn, Rock and Roll, Funk, Pop, and Hip-Hop – and just about every other genre in between.
By now we will all have seen the horrific images of George Floyd’s inhumane death at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, as well as the resulting outcry against police brutality and systemic racism.
It is for this reason that today Essentially Pop participates in #TheShowMustBePaused. Started by Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, two women involved in the music industry, and today, also known as #BlackoutTuesday, has been set aside in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless other Black citizens at the hands of police brutality, or in Arbery’s case the averting of justice due to police cronyism.
Today on #BlackOutTuesday we stand in solidarity with the Black community, and we ask all others in the music industry to do likewise, and that we all do our part in standing up and supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement. But we also ask that the music industry stands up EVERY day. The music industry would not exist at all if it were not for the Black community. We need to do more than just give lip service to the community on one day. We owe them our livelihoods; we owe them everything. We, of all industries, need to address the imbalance in the system. As individuals we can only do so much – but united we can move mountains.
It’s important to remember that we are still in the middle of a very dangerous pandemic, so we do not actively encourage people to march, or otherwise put their health at risk. But there are other ways you can get involved, the simplest being using your social media profiles to show how and where you stand. You can also sign petitions – see here for a guide to approved #BLM petitions.
You can donate to approved organisations to fund racial justice. The below have all been approved:
Minnesota Freedom Fund – a non-profit organization that pays criminal bail and immigration bond for those who cannot afford to as they seek to end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing. Donate here.
Black Visions Collective – a Minnesota-based organization whose mission is to organize powerful, connected Black communities and dismantle systems of violence through building strategic campaigns, investing in Black leadership, and engaging in cultural and narrative organizing. Donate here.
Reclaim The Block – a Minneapolis-based coalition that organizes local community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety. Donate here.
Unicorn Riot – a Minnesota-based non-profit organization dedicated to exposing root causes of dynamic social and environmental issues through amplifying stories and exploring sustainable alternatives in today’s globalized world. Donate here.
Color of Change – the largest online racial justice organization in the U.S, Color of Change leads campaigns to move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Donate here.
Campaign Zero – a national comprehensive online platform to end police violence in America, offering urgent policy solutions that are informed by data, research, and human rights principles. Donate here.
Join Campaign Zero to help end racial injustice in the US. From their website:
Over 1,000 people are killed by police every year in America. We are calling on local, state, and federal lawmakers to take immediate action to adopt data-driven policy solutions to end this violence and hold police accountable.
It is important to remember that racial injustice occurs all over the world, and we by no means suggest that we lose sight of the fact that it must be stamped out wherever it occurs. But by standing now with the Black community in the US, we take long overdue steps towards fixing the rot inherent in the system. And we in the music industry, who owe the Black community so much for what we are, need to stand with them not just today, but every day.
Just like a rope made of many strands is stronger, so we too shall be stronger if we work together in unity. Stand with us and be the change.