Blackout Tuesday stemmed off of the original initiative #TheShowMustBePaused created by music executives Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas, Senior Director of Marketing at Atlantic Records. Agyemang and Thomas have since noted that "These injustices we are facing in America are not limited to just our community. This is a global initiative and our efforts will include members worldwide".
Businesses participated in different ways. Black Americans were asked to not buy or sell on this day to show economic strength and unity. Spotify announced it would be adding an 8-minute and 46-second moment of silence to certain podcasts and playlists for the day.Apple Music stripped down and took over the "Browse", "For You", and "Radio" tabs and replaced them with a single radio streaming station in celebration of Black music.
On Facebook and Instagram, users participated by posting a single photo of a black square alongside the hashtag #blackouttuesday.
Organizations supporting Blackout Tuesday suggested that the day could be an opportunity for reflection on racism and the effects of racism on society. Others suggested it could be an opportunity to take time from work to focus on helping others. According to the original statement released by Aygyemang and Thomas, "This is not just a 24-hour initiative. We are and will be in this fight for the long haul. A plan of action will be announced". This is only phase one of a multi-phase movement.
Concerns and criticisms
Some users posted the black square image using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter or #BLM (an acronym of the former), which in turn leads users who are searching those hashtags to find nothing but blank images. Some activists were concerned because the Black Lives Matter related hashtags are being used by activists and others to share information during the ongoing protests, and posting a black square with the incorrect hashtag risks drowning out critical information and updates. Other users pointed to those participating in the Blackout Tuesday event, but not involving themselves in other forms of activism, such as protesting or donating, as being performative in their activism. There was also a hoax spreading around claiming that the event was started by 4chantrolls, but research has proven that to be fake.