Update – Music Industry
On top of aligning with the industry shutdown, many artists have taken initiative to further support the Black Lives Matter movement by sharing their personal statements, joining the street protests in their local communities and donating to relevant organizations. For the individual, here are resources on how to stay informed, vocal and safe.
Run The Jewels member Killer Mike, who is the son of and is related to several Atlanta police officers, spoke an emotionally-driven speech at the Atlanta mayor’s press conference. He began with the story of how the first few African American police offers in Atlanta had to suit up at the local YMCA because the white police officers didn’t want them to get dressed in the same area.
Fast forward to 80 years later, the world watched how a white police officer murdered George Floyd.
Killer Mike appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and further explained his speech, adding, “No, we don’t need you to stay out of the way, What I need you to do is send financial help to some of the organizations I just named, because those are the organizations on the ground. Then get your butt down there and help those organizations in the physical.”
JAY-Z‘s Roc Nation took out full-page ads in major newspapers like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Atlanta Journal-Constituion in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The ad features a speech that Martin Luther King, Jr. made in March 1965 in Selma, Alabama with signatures of other supporters, organizations, lawyers and family members of DJ Henry and Antwon Rose.
Noname continues to champion social justice reforms, utilizing her platform as a continuation of her Book Club initiative in a call to action for her followers to, “consume more revolutionary content.” She continued, “Don’t allow this moment to be filtered through the establishment class media outlets.” Her latest recommendation: Blood in My Eye by George L. Jackson. “Pessimism is a tool of white supremacy.
Earl Sweatshirt spoke out about reforming the criminal justice system earlier this year, hopping on the remix of currently incarcerated rapper Drakeo the Ruler’s “Ion Rap Beef”. He continues to share reading resources and amplifying important voices on the frontlines of the current wave of protests.
After husband JAY-Z took out full-page ads in major newspapers, Beyoncé released her own statement calling for justice for George Floyd and leading her social media followers to sign a petition given that the battle for equality “is far from over.” Beyoncé called upon everyone, regardless of background, nationality or ethnicity to contribute leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election in November. “We cannot normalize his pain.”
The Weeknd donated a total of $500,00 USD to several organizations supporting the movement, including the Black Lives Matter Global Movement, The Colin Kaepernick Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defense Initiative and the National Bail Out. Taking to Instagram to spread the word, the XO Records founder shared his donation receipts and encouraged “everyone with big pockets to give and give big.” He also urged major labels and streaming services to publicly announce the donations they’ve made and will make as an act of solidarity.
Tyler, the Creator
Although Tyler, the Creator‘s GOLF store on Fairfax sustained damages, he continued to join the protests in LA alongside Odd Future co-founder Jasper. The IGOR artist shared a Black Panther Party image from 1969 on Instagram, and followed it up with a comment that read, “and the store is fine, but even if it wasnt, this is bigger than getting some glass fixed and buffing spray paint off, understand what really needs to be fixed out here. stay safe, love.” He also uploaded a photo from his area of the protests on Twitter that reminded people to stay safe.
Erykah Badu chimed in on the systemic racism that not only plagues America but beats down Black musicians through racist practices in the major label system. She called for the amending of contracts, the redistribution of wealth through royalties and diversifying boardrooms. Speaking on the current protests as a whole, Eryka said, “George Floyd will inspire in someone the creation of a blueprint that will spark the building of a thing for our children that will out-last the pyramids.”
Travis Scott shared Nike‘s “Don’t Do It” video ad on Twitter as well as a personal statement. The Cactus Jack founder demanded accountability and police reform, writing, “We have to change and reform police policy in our U.S. cities, and there needs to be accountability immediately! Especially when officers abuse power to the point where it callously takes a life.”
A$AP Rocky took to Twitter to write a strongly-worded statement wherein the rapper revealed that he was out on the streets protesting with no press and no cameras. “I DONT POST MY EVERY MOVE, NOT MY THING,” he wrote, but also shared several videos and photos of his presence at a protest on the AWGE Instagram account.
Both Drake and The Weeknd were encouraged by Mustafa the Poet, who urged them to match his $400 USD donation and add three zeroes. This led to Drizzy donating $100,000 USD to the National Bail Out fund. He also expressed his condolences for George Floyd, sharing a powerful poem from Assata Shakur entitled Affirmation.
Hit-Boy penned a lengthy, straightforward and thought-provoking statement that took a deep dive at the systematic problems African Americans in the music industry. The producer/rapper called for fair deals and updated contracts rather than just one day of a shutdown. “As someone who’s generated millions for multiple corporations through my gift I have to say it’s gonna take a lot more than 1 Tuesday to reverse what’s been going on for all these years,” he wrote. Hit-Boy continued, “Most of us have watched the stories of musicians we grew up admiring and had no idea they were being exploited for their talent and taken advantage of with bad contracts, etc. to see a “music industry blackout” in 2020 when there are still companies handing out contracts they know aren’t any good for the talent and who don’t care about their black talent as much as they say they do just doesn’t add up.”
stay tune for more.