At 5 p.m. ET/PT on Monday, June 1—one week after the death of George Floyd—ViacomCBS staged a roadblock across its entertainment and youth brands (MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, BET, Pop TV, CMT, VH1, Logo and Smithsonian) to voice their support.
“Breath is one of the many things that unites us,” Chris McCarthy, president of the entertainment and youth brands, wrote to his team, “and during this time, when Black lives are under attack in so many ways, we want to leverage all of our platforms to show our ally-ship. We have partnered with Color of Change to include a call to action—an important step to help all of us understand that we have a responsibility to get involved and be part of the solution. Please be on the lookout for a note later today on how all of us can get involved in Black Out Tuesday tomorrow.”
Floyd’s death has sparked peaceful protests and violent looting across American cities. Floyd died Monday, May 25, after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held him down for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd pleaded for his life and repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.”
The simple blacked-out spot is accompanied by the sound of breathing.
On Tuesday, brands and individuals posted black squares on social media in support of Blackout Tuesday. The social-media effort was created “to take a beat for an honest, reflective, and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community,” according to #TheShowMustBePaused website, which also offers links to resources and sites where people can donate.
#TheShowMustBePaused is an effort started by Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas, two black women in the music industry to support #BlackLivesMatter and other similar organizations.