Around Town: A Letter from The MusicianShip on #BlackOutTuesday

blackout

Music industry leaders around the world have declared today #BlackOutTuesday and have decided that #TheShowMustBePaused.

Joined by brands as large as Apple, YouTube, and Amazon, this is a day when business is stopped and more attention is paid to wellness, community, and solidarity with Black colleagues, many of whom are hurt and traumatized by the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Different businesses are deciding to do different things to raise awareness and to stand with African Americans. For example:

  • Apple Music is pausing parts of its services, and replacing it with a “Listen Together” link that features the best of Black music.
  • Spotify is adding eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence to certain playlists and podcasts, to acknowledge the time period that a White Minneapolis police officer kept his knee on the neck of George Floyd, who later perished, for allegedly furnishing a counterfeit bill.

In this vein, The MusicianShip has decided to pause all office work and programming for the day.

If you are White, consider your daily concerns, juxtaposed to those who lack this privilege. Consider whether you fear for your life when pulled over by a police officer. Consider whether you’re forced to have “the talk” with your sons, not about the birds and bees, but about how to stay alive during an encounter with police. After you’ve considered this, think about your Black counterparts who struggle to merely matter.

As protesting persists across the nation, there is a temptation to condemn the actions of protestors. I would challenge you to ponder the root cause of the protesting and not the protests themselves. Even actions that might seem reprehensible (e.g., looting) have redeeming qualities when you consider how (legitimate) looters are poor, lack jobs right now, and have been subjugated, in some form or fashion, because of systemic racism and oppression. Beyond that, property is replaceable. Lives are not.

As an organization conceived by Black musicians, who initially coalesced to uplift primarily Black youth in underserved communities, we are proud to let you know where we stand as an organization. #BlackLivesMatter and, in an effort to band with our music community peers, we support #BlackOutTuesday. Be safe, take a healthy dose of self-awareness, and be ever vigilant in your pursuit of equality.

Jeffery L. Tribble Jr., J.D.

Executive Director
The MusicianShip
Home of The Washington Youth Choir, The Wammie Awards, and DC Funk Parade

For more info on The MusicianShip, visit the nonprofit’s website.

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