Music Artists Taking a Stand for the Black Community
Updated: Sep 17
On June 2, our country observed “Black Out Tuesday” where black squares were posted across social media platforms, and citizens took the day to log off and listen to the Black community who've been silenced for too long. Each day thereafter, distractions were put on hold for one whole day to show solidarity and unity in the fight against racism and joint support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
This public shutdown also pushed support for Black culture which included art, music, Black-owned businesses, and history. Apple Music created a radio station only playing music by Black musicians and Netflix created a collection of TV shows and movies to educate viewers on racism.
Fortunately, the support for the Black Lives Matter movement didn’t stop after Black Out Tuesday, especially within the music industry. Many key figures in music have continued to show their support for this cause from participating in peaceful protests to releasing activist content and donating to organizations to help the cause. Let’s take a look at some of these figures and their contributions:
JAY Z & BEYONCE
One of the music industry’s most powerful and influential couples have been taking a stand against racism in America through published ads in major newspapers and their large social media followings.
Jay Z took out full-page ads in large-scale papers such as The New York Times and the Minneapolis Star Tribune to feature speeches from Martin Luther King Jr., information about the movement, and how to get involved and show support.
Beyonce released a video via Instagram demanding justice for George Floyd and those whose names are not being spoken. She also called upon her followers to sign petitions, donate, and educate themselves on the political election coming up later this year and said, “We cannot normalize this pain”. Who knows, maybe we can expect a tribute album in the coming months.
In 2018, Childish Gambino released his hit song “This Is America”, and if people weren’t listening then, they are definitely listening now. The song addresses the issues of gun violence and racism in the country. Every time he fires a gun in the video, it is carefully taken away on a cloth or a pillow while the dead body at the other end of the bullet is dragged away carelessly, illustrating our country's tendency to prioritize our rights to guns over our own people. The cheery tune and upbeat dancing serve to distract the viewers from the violence and chaos happening behind the dancers, sending the message that we are all easily distracted from the hate going on in our country. This song was a loud statement upon release and it’s even louder now with the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In 2020, Childish Gambino isn’t releasing songs about gun violence or using his dance moves to bring attention to the flaws in our government systems, but instead has gone MIA on social media. He has blacked out all of his social media accounts and people believe it is to protest police brutality. He has deleted all of his content and has yet to make a statement, but based on his music, I think we all know what he stands for and against.
J. Cole has been seen at multiple protests pledging his support for the movement and the Black community. On top of his physical support, he recently released a song that tackles racism, activism, police brutality, and the difficulty that can come with speaking out. The rapper is well-known for his powerful and poetic lyrics, in which the lyrics in “Snow on Tha Bluff” did not fall short.
"It's a reason it took like two hundred years for our ancestors just to get freed / These shackles be lockin' the mental way more than the physical / I look at freedom like trees, can't grow a forest like overnight / Hit the ghetto and slowly start plantin' your seeds," he says. He even used a photo of him at a Black Lives Matter protest for the album art cover for this new single.
TYLER, THE CREATOR
Tyler, the Creator stands with protestors despite his GOLF store being vandalized. In response to this occurrence in Los Angeles, Tyler wrote,
“And the store is fine, but even if it wasn’t, this is bigger than getting some glass fixed and buffing some spray paint off. Understand what really needs to be fixed out here. Stay safe. Love.”
We love a man with his priorities straight.
Just days after his store was vandalized, Tyler, The Creator participated in a protest where he tweeted to stay safe.
Keke Palmer went viral on Twitter after a video of her speaking to the National Guard was posted. In the video, she begged and pleaded for the officers to join the protestors and pledge their peaceful support for the movement, but they declined.
Following the viral video, Keke made statements on why this movement is so important to her and why she will continue to protest racism and police brutality in America. She wrote, “Sometimes, going against the authority is the only remedy for change, especially when we have seen, too often, those authority figures step over the line.”