Canadian Music Industry Pledges To End Anti-Black Racism


Canada’s music industry is marking the one-year anniversary of the “Blackout Tuesday” social media campaign with a virtual signing Wednesday of a declaration to end anti-Black racism.

The event, set for 1 p.m. ET, is a partnership of Breaking Down Racial Barriers (BDRB), the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) and Canada’s Black Music Business Collective (ADVANCE).

Musician Andrew Cash, executive director of CIMA, explained in a release that the declaration is a commitment to end anti-Black racism in the Canadian music industry. “By doing so we commit to the creation of a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse industry,” he said, “one that not only includes, encourages, and fosters the success of Black entrepreneurs and professionals but does so intentionally.”

The declaration follows a BDRB roundtable last year with dozens of Black music professionals and commits signatories to make “an active, conscious and ongoing effort to work against racism; to create mechanisms to dismantle systems that perpetuate racism, and to create actionable solutions with measurable outcomes.”

MORE: Music Industry Comes Together To Hit Pause For "Blackout Tuesday"

Blackout Tuesday was sparked by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Instagram users were encouraged to post black squares – and nothing else – on June 2.

Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, two Black women working in the U.S. music industry, launched the hashtag “#TheShowMustBePaused” to spotlight what many believe to be systemic racism in music.

Drake, Mariah Carey and Rihanna were among the artists who posted black squares.

But, the campaign was criticized by many as performative and a distraction from the conversations and protests happening at the time.

“I know y’all mean well but... bro saying stop posting for a day is the worst idea ever,” tweeted Lil Nas X at the time.

“I just really think this is the time to push as hard as ever. i don’t think the movement has ever been this powerful. we don’t need to slow it down by posting nothing. we need to spread info and be as loud as ever.”

Kehlani took to social media to opine that “something about its executive doesn’t seem smart” and called out “a bunch of suits on Instagram saying Blackout Tuesday for the industry … with no context.”

Lizzo and Chance the Rapper complained that Instagram users were including the “#BlackLivesMatter” hashtag on their Blackout Tuesday posts.

“Don’t use the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter because it is flooding the hashtag search, which is black pictures instead of information,” Lizzo pointed out. “So if you’re going to post a black square, just post a black square and say it, but don’t hashtag it.”

Chance the Rapper tweeted: “DO NOT BLACK OUT THE MOVEMENT. U dont [need] a hashtag its already black.”

Thomas and Agyemang later clarified that Blackout Tuesday was not meant to “mute ourselves” but to “disrupt” and “pause from business as usual.”