Apple Music joined dozens of brands and companies in participating in #TheShowMustBePaused initiative, an effort created by two Black women in the music industry to show support for protests against the killing of George Floyd. The company observed Blackout Tuesday using its music platform.
When users opened Apple Music with their laptops or iPhones on Tuesday, they saw a lengthy message on the screen saying, "In steadfast support of the Black voices that define music, creativity, and culture, we use ours. This moment calls upon us all to speak and act against racism and injustice of all kinds. We stand in solidarity with Black communities everywhere. #TheShowMustBePaused #BlackLivesMatter."
On Tuesday, June 2nd, Apple Music will observe Black Out Tuesday. We will use this day to reflect and plan actions to support Black artists, Black creators, and Black communities. #TheShowMustBePaused #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/xkvn31DpYc— Apple Music (@AppleMusic) June 2, 2020
The company only played Black artists and canceled all of the shows scheduled for the Beats 1 radio, replacing them with a day-long stream of music.
The radio station played dozens of the greatest Black songs about the police, including N.W.A.'s "F**k The Police," KRS-One's "Sound Of Da Police," Vic Mensa's "16 Shots" and J. Cole's "Neighbors."
It also played classics like Bob Marley's "Rebel Music" and other songs about protest, police brutality and Black life in America.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has spoken out about the Floyd protests, sending a letter to employees last week where he committed to donating to social justice initiatives, according to Bloomberg.
"Right now, there is a pain deeply etched in the soul of our nation and in the hearts of millions. To stand together, we must stand up for one another, and recognize the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism. That painful past is still present today — not only in the form of violence, but in the everyday experience of deeply rooted discrimination," Cook wrote in his letter to employees.
Minneapolis is grieving for a reason. To paraphrase Dr. King, the negative peace which is the absence of tension is no substitute for the positive peace which is the presence of justice. Justice is how we heal.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) May 29, 2020
"We see it in our criminal justice system, in the disproportionate toll of disease on Black and Brown communities, in the inequalities in neighborhood services and the educations our children receive. While our laws have changed, the reality is that their protections are still not universally applied," Cook added.He also said Apple would be donating to the Equal Justice Initiative and, in honor of the Juneteenth holiday, will be matching two-for-one employee donations via Benevity during the month of June.
"This is a moment when many people may want nothing more than a return to normalcy, or to a status quo that is only comfortable if we avert our gaze from injustice. As difficult as it may be to admit, that desire is itself a sign of privilege. George Floyd’s death is shocking and tragic proof that we must aim far higher than a 'normal' future, and build one that lives up to the highest ideals of equality and justice," Cook said.
Companies have faced criticism throughout the day for the Blackout Tuesday effort, with many saying it did little to actually address issues facing Black people and was largely a symbolic move.
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.— nope (@LilNasX) June 2, 2020
Despite the backlash, Spotify, TikTok and SiriusXM all joined Apple Music in the day of protest, according to Rolling Stone.
Black Out Tuesday posts are ineffective. People can't see useful content about the Black Lives Matter protests when they click the hashtag on instagram because of the over flow of blank black pictures. pic.twitter.com/x3SQiTwWX6— SADÉ (@sadeyoncee) June 2, 2020