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Celebrities warn that using #BLM with Blackout Tuesday posts could hide important information

Blackout Tuesday, an initiative protesting police violence against black men, was created by Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang.
Image: Blackouttuesday

Some celebrities and activists are warning that posting Blackout Tuesday images with #BLM and #BlackLivesMatter could have the unintended consequence of obscuring other posts with important resources about protests and organization donations and are asking others not to use these hashtags in such posts.

"We keep eachother tappin in via social media. getting off it for a day... anything could go down wit no ability to warn eachother/help eachother.. i don’t know man," the singer, Kehlani, tweeted about the movement.

She added, "I don't like this" in a response to a tweet that stated that "once you click on the blm hashtag you’re directed to an overflow of black images, instead of other more useful content people could look at for information."

"When you check the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, it's no longer videos, helpful information, resources, documentation of the injustice, it's rows of black screens," Kehlani later explained on her Instagram story.

Rapper Chuck Inglish also responded to the tweet, writing, "Now weve blacked out all the possible news we need to see on our timeline."

Blackout Tuesday was created by Jamila Thomas, senior director of marketing at Atlantic Records and Brianna Agyemang, the senior artist campaign manager at Platoon, "in observance of the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard."

While the initiative, which Thomas and Agyemang referred to as #Theshowmustbepaused, initially called on those in the music industry "to take a beat for an honest, reflective and productive conversation" about racial inequality and the ways in which it has "profited predominantly from Black art," it has since extended beyond the music industry as social media users from various backgrounds express their solidarity with the movement by posting black squares on Instagram.

Some, like Lil Nas X, have expressed concerns that the initiative will silence people.

"I don't think the movement has ever been this powerful," wrote the "Old Town Road" singer. "We don't need to slow it down by posting nothing. we need to spread info and be as loud as ever."

"While i do appreciate the idea.... don’t y’all think getting getting off our form of communicating with eachother, sharing info, seeing news... for a whole day... in the middle of a war on us.. is kinda dangerous?" Kehlani wrote in another tweet. "By all means don’t spend. but we need eachother on HERE."

Yet others have interpreted Blackout Tuesday differently, instead opting to commit to posting solely about the BLM movement and ongoing protests of police brutality, inspired by the death of George Floyd.

"The goal of #blackoutuesday isn’t for us to ignore the protest or not share online," tweeted TikTok star Jaden Hossler. "It is to take the focus off OURSELVES and put it on the courageousness, strength and hope that lies in the black community. Again, take this time to learn and spread awareness!"

For those who plan to post for Blackout Tuesday, activists ask that they refrain from using #BLM and #BlackLivesMatter with your images.

"We know that's it no intent to harm but to be frank, this essentially does harm the message," Black Lives Matter activist Kenidra Woods tweeted. "We use hashtag to keep ppl updated. PLS stop using the hashtag for black images!!"

“Stop posting black squares under the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on Instagram,” added sociologist Anthony James Williams. “It is intentionally and unintentionally hiding critical information we are using on the ground and online ... Tell me how this helps Black folk. It doesn’t, and it in fact makes things a lot worse. Tell your friends and fam to stop.”

A number of music labels have expressed support for Blackout Tuesday, including Warner Music Group, which promised to "collectively reflect" on what it could do as a company to institute change and said it would donate money to Black Lives Matter. Interscope Geffen A&M Records also announced that it would cancel all its planned releases for this week, and Spotify said it would match donations made by employees to racial justice organizations. Spotify also added an 8 minute and 46-second moment of silence to select playlists and podcasts on the platform, which is the same amount of time former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd down by the neck with his knee.