'The Show Must Be Paused': Music Industry's George Floyd Protest Initiative, Explained

The music industry is putting itself on pause Tuesday to honor George Floyd. The effort, called Blackout Tuesday, was created by music executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang as part of their The Show Must Be Paused initiative. Dozens of artists, including the Rolling Stones, Marc Anthony, Billie Eilish and Quincy Jones, have shown their support for the movement, canceling listening parties and other online events out of respect.

In a statement shared on their site, Thomas and Agyemang said their initiative was established "by two Black women in music in observance of the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard. We will not conduct business as usual without regard for Black lives." The two said they picked Tuesday for their protest to "intentionally disrupt" the work week. They believed if they picked Monday, it would have created a long weekend and they could not wait until Friday. "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."

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Quincy Jones (@quincydjones) on

Thomas and Agyemang said this will not just be a one-day initiative and they plan to announce "a plan of action" soon. At the end of their statement, the two asked their black friends and family to "please take the time for your and your mental health." In a message to supporters, they wrote, "The time is now to have difficult conversations with family, friends and colleagues."

Dozens of musicians have since pledged their support to the initiative. Jones showed his support with a passionate post on Instagram. "It’s hard to know what to say because I’ve been dealing with racism my entire life," the living music legend wrote. "That said, it’s rearing its ugly head right now & by God it’s time to deal with it once & for all. My team & I stand for justice. Conversations will be had & action will be taken."


Several music labels have also announced their support, including Capitol Music Group and Warner Music Group. Capitol said it will make a donation to Color of Change, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy group that aims to "end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward." The label said it is "committed to doing more, and will be announcing further plans of action in the days and weeks ahead."

Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25, when officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck until he lost consciousness. Chauvin was fired and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. On Monday, Floyd's family released the results of an independent autopsy, which found his death was a "homicide caused by asphyxia."