Lil Nas X and Kehlani have criticized the music industry’s Blackout Tuesday campaign protesting the murder of George Floyd as a distraction from real activism.
Acts including Rihanna and the Rolling Stones are halting social media promotions on Tuesday (June 2, 2020) to join the protests against police brutality and racism that have swept the U.S. since Floyd died when Minnesota policeman Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for eight minutes during an arrest last week.
Record executives, including chiefs at Nas’s label Columbia Records have also backed the campaign – but the Old Town Road hitmaker disagrees, calling it “the worst idea ever” in a tweet.
The 21-year-old rapper went on to write that it would have been a better idea for stars and labels to share activist messages and information.
“it’s information that needs to be spread! the movement needs to be pushed forward! not silenced for a day,” he wrote. “i just really think this is the time to push as hard as ever. i don’t think the movement has ever been this powerful. we don’t need to slow it down by posting nothing. we need to spread info and be as loud as ever.”
Making his own suggestion, he added, “not tryna be announcing but what if we posted donation and petitions links on instagram all at the same time instead of pitch black images,” before expressing fear the blackout images would take over social media hashtags used to discuss the protests.
Kehlani also criticized the campaign as costing companies nothing and co-opting the original #TheShowMustBePaused initiative started by two black women, Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang.
“tuesdays not a big deal,” she tweeted. “no releases should come out at all for the week s**t maybe for the month. and if they do, these companies need to pledge to giving the Black artists who release ALL THE MONEY MADE FROM IT (sic). f**k it.”