#BlackOutTuesday: Using the black square to amplify black and brown voices

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Many people’s social media feeds have been flooded with black squares on Tuesday with #BlackOutTuesday. Tianna Mañon is a publicist in Rochester. She said this movement can be powerful as long as we execute it correctly.

“I think the struggle is that there’s a lot of people posting these images that actually have the power to make change and they’re just stopping there,” said Mañon.

The idea originally came from two music executives. They led an effort in the music community to pause normal business on Tuesday to “observe the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard.”

So how do you go beyond the black square? Mañon said to take this time to not only recognize that racist systems exist but also discuss how we can fix them.

“I think white people tend to gravitate towards this hashtag because it is easy. You can show you’re an ally, you can show ‘hey I’m messing up my IG aesthetic by posting this black image,’ but you also kind of wash your hands and finish for the day.”

A posting tip from Mañon: don’t hash tag ‘black lives matter’ with your black square posts. That buries important BLM content and defeats the purpose of amplifying black and brown voices. She also said to try to include a useful caption with your photo such as links to black literature or black businesses to support.

“I think if you go into tomorrow without having learned anything new, sparked any discussions with either the other allies in your life or even just check on the beautiful black people that you love, I think you’re going into tomorrow with having missed the point of today.”

Zahyia Rolle is a musician in Rochester. She said from a music perspective, Black Out Tuesday is about shutting down access to black performance culture.

“What would America look like if it loved black people as much as it loved black culture? So really shutting down that culture, what does it feel like to not have us involved with what you realize is your daily routine daily lives,” said Rolle.

Overall, both women say this movement should go far beyond Tuesday. They said it’s important to make sure our next moves as a nation are unified and more impactful towards change.

Interscope Records, Sony Music, and Spotify are among many that have posted observance of Black Out Tuesday.

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