The death of George Floyd has led to some unprecedented violence in the USA. Protestors around the country have been up in arms demanding justice for the death of another black man through state negligence. Notably, celebrities around the world have expressed solidarity with the movement. This has contributed to the movement gaining legitimacy. One such attempt was made with many celebrities putting out a black square on their Instagram post on “Blackout Tuesday.”
This included big names like Idris Alba and Mahershala Ali. However, the Black Lives Matter hashtag used by them caused a controversy. Many protestors claimed that this blackout Tuesday this took attention away from the movement.
WHY WAS BLACKOUT TUESDAY CRITICIZED?
The hashtag black lives Matter had been used by protestors to pass on key information on Instagram. However, the black squares being posted by celebrities made it difficult to find those posts.
“We know that’s it no intent to harm but to be frank, this essentially does harm the message,” activist Kenidra Woods said on Twitter.
Singer St. Vincent wrote on Instagram. “In talking to my friend inside the BLM [Black Lives Matter] movement, she made it clear while the industry blackout seems well-intentioned, it is actually counterproductive to the cause. There’s so much information that needs to get out there. … For this reason, I am eschewing the blackout.’’
Actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani tweeted “It’s pushing down important and relevant content.”
“If you are participating in this, don’t use the tag #BlackLivesMatter.”
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) June 2, 2020
The message is certainly important. However, it can’t come at the cost of important voices. Celebrities have to see that they are participating as allies and don’t come center stage in the historic movement.