You may have woken up to an Instagram feed full of black squares. The posts are part of a social media campaign to support the Black Lives Matter movement and protest the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 by Minneapolis police. Many of the posts are accompanied with the caption #BlackOutTuesday, among others. However, Lizzo has just explained why you shouldn’t use #BlackLivesMatter in your posts on Blackout Tuesday (June 2). While it might be well-intentioned, social media is still a really important tool for people to find information and resources during the protests and using that hashtag today may make it more difficult for people to access them.
In a video on her Instagram, the Good as Hell singer explained:
“When you post your black square please don’t use the hashtag Black Lives Matter because it is flooding the hashtag search, which is black pictures instead of information. So if you’re going to post a black square, post it and say it but don’t hashtag it.”
In earlier videos, Lizzo has encouraged her Black fans by reminding them that it’s not their responsibility to educate people about white privilege and urged her white fans to speak up about Black Lives Matter.
The Black Lives Matter hashtag is being used on Instagram and Twitter to share footage from protests, links to organizations where people can donate money, and information and resources for people to either educate themselves or access help. It’s harder to get this out to people en masse if the feed is broken up with black squares. Activist and author Kenidra R. Woods has also raised concerns about using the Black Lives Matter hashtag on Blackout Tuesday posts.
Blackout Tuesday on social media started after some key figures in the music industry pledged a day of silence to protest police brutality and the murder of George Floyd. Organizers for The Show Must Be Paused project called for a day where people "disconnect from work and reconnect with our community" through "an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change." By posting a black square, you’re pledging to show your support and then not post anything else on Instagram all day to consider how you can support Black Lives Matter in other ways.