• Black Lives Matter badge
Jun 2, 2020

Lil Nas X Called Out People Posting "Blackout Tuesday" On Instagram After It Overwhelmed The Black Lives Matter Hashtag

"This is not helping us. Bro who the hell thought of this?? People need to see what's going on."

Lil Nas X is among those criticising the worldwide "Blackout Tuesday" campaign, which has seen thousands of people posting blank tiles under the Black Lives Matter hashtag.

Amy Sussman / Getty Images

After the death of George Floyd in the custody of white police officers in Minneapolis last week, word recently began to spread online promoting a social media blackout in solidarity with the black community.

Facebook / Via facebook.com

The campaign began in the music industry, with record executives calling for a cease in operations in order to "disconnect from work and reconnect with our community" before it spread across social media.

Many people, including celebrities such as Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, and Drake joined the blackout on Tuesday, posting blank tiles to their accounts.

However, despite strong support from some of the biggest names in the industry, the blackout has been met with some criticism, particularly after people realised that the blank posts were potentially blocking people's access to important information and resources.

yo edit your hashtags on IG if you’re doing this. make it #BlackOutTuesday and not #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/pWazxzQiPF

With people using #BlackLivesMatter to caption the blackout, the hashtag has become overrun with blank tiles, meaning that valuable news items and resources are virtually impossible to find.

Instagram

Some people even suggested that the blank posts were censoring the Black Lives Matter hashtag.

At such a critical time as protest swells globally and police response escalates, the viral co-opting of ‘blackout Tuesday’ (a movement originally started by Black women in the music industry to encourage serious conversations in the workplace) feels like censorship at scale

This blackout Tuesday is essentially a censorship on things happening in the BLM movement. All the black images/ squares are literally clogging up the hashtag and making it hard for people to spread useful info on BLM.

While others said that while using the hashtag had no ill-intent, it was still "essentially doing harm to the message".

It has come to my attention that many allies are using #BlackLivesMatter hashtag w black image on insta. We know that’s it no intent to harm but to be frank, this essentially does harm the message. We use hashtag to keep ppl updated. PLS stop using the hashtag for black images!!

IM SO ANGRY IM ON THE BRINK OF TEARS THEY GOT YALL TO ERASE THE PROTESTS FROM INSTAGRAM OMFG

And now Lil Nas has had his say, posting a tweet that suggested the blackout was "not helping" because "people need to see what’s going on".

this is not helping us. bro who the hell thought of this?? ppl need to see what’s going on https://t.co/fN492qsxaa

When challenged on his stance that the blackout was "the worst idea ever", the rapper responded that he thought spreading information was more important.

@_DeeDogg7 it’s information that needs to be spread! the movement needs to be pushed forward! not silenced for a day.

"I just really think this is the time to push as hard as ever," he added. "We don't need to slow it down by posting nothing. We need to spread info and be as loud as ever."

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. https://t.co/9nvy3HodjD

Kehlani also spoke up about the blackout, saying that she didn't think it was useful, especially considering Tuesdays aren't a "big deal" in the music industry because new music is usually released on Fridays.

fuck no first of all. the major release day is FRIDAYS. tuesdays not a big deal. no releases should come out at all for the week shit maybe for the month. and if they do, these companies need to pledge to giving the Black artists who release ALL THE MONEY MADE FROM IT. fuck it. https://t.co/S6lNSqvO4x

"When people click that hashtag, they need to see what's going on," she said of the blank tiles under the Black Lives Matter hashtag. "They need to see it harshly, vividly, accurately, in their faces."

deffo don’t think it’s a conspiracy. but when people click that hashtag, they need to see what’s going on. they need to see it harshly, vividly, accurately, in their faces. https://t.co/5iE2tRbnqa

However, Kehlani made clear that she did support the original idea behind the blackout, but that the message behind it had gotten lost along the way.

now, #TheShowMustBePaused innitiative started by two black women Jamila Thomas & Brianna Agyemang dedicated to disrupting the music industry for a day... love that. seen less of that tag and proper info on that... industry folks need to specifically boost the ORIGINAL info

i don’t want anyone thinking that’s what i called out as bullshit earlier. what i called out was a bunch of suits on instagram saying black out tuesday for the industry. with no context. no nod to the original organizers or the original flyer.

If you're taking part in the social media blackout on Tuesday, consider using #BlackoutTuesday and #TheShowMustBePaused instead of #BlackLivesMatter — both are dedicated to the cause and won't disrupt important information shared under the Black Lives Matter hashtag.

Ben Henry is a celebrity reporter for BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

Contact Ben Henry at ben.henry@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here