Blackout Tuesday: Why Some Say Posts Meant to Draw Attention to Racial Injustice May Be Instead a Distraction

Black images clog the hashtag "Black Lives Matter," which is typically used to communicate important information.

Today is Blackout Tuesday, a day meant to show solidarity with the black community for social and political change after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Many people including celebrities and organizations are participating by posting a picture of solid black. And some are also including the hashtag "Black Lives Matter." 

But for activists and influencers, like writer and speaker Anthony James Williams explained on Twitter, including that hashtag is counterproductive. Flooding the hashtag with images of solid black blocks important information about places to donate, documentation of police violence, vital information about protests and ways to better support the Black Lives Matter movement, he said.

“Y’all have NO idea how hard organizers have been working just for s*** like this to happen,” says the Black Disability Collective, a group that provides space for support and camaraderie to those who identify as black and disabled. A video shows an Instagram user scrolling through the hashtag "black lives matter," which is flooded with black posts.

Celebrities and influencers like Franchesca Ramsey and Chuck Inglish have been urging others to stop using the tag with posts of blank black pictures.

Isra Hirsi, co-founder of U.S. Youth Climate Strike and daughter of Minnesota's 5th congressional district Representative Ilhan Omar, questioned the point of posting a black image at all. “Black screens don’t do anything for black lives,” she tweeted. 

Music executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang started the initiative #TheShowMustBePaused to interrupt the work week to stand against long-standing racism and inequality has been prevalent in the country. But the execution of the plan is being questioned. “We can not disappear for a day,” singer Kehlani wrote on her Instagram story. 

Similarly, Lil Nas X tweeted, “I just really think this is the time to push as hard as ever.”