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Blackout Tuesday: What is it - and why were people posting black squares on Instagram?

How to join Blackout Tuesday

Organisers behind the movement have asked people to: 

  1. Post a picture of a black square on their social media account
  2. Mute their account for the day
  3. Use the time they would otherwise be on social media to educate themselves on Black Lives Matter 

You can save this square to use if you need one: 

What is Black Lives Matter?

The latest deaths have led to a resurgence in the "Black Lives Matter" movement, founded in 2013, initially as a social media hashtag before becoming a protest movement, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin, the previous year.

According to their website, the BLM mission is to "eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives."

Read more: Black America's despair over police killings resonates down the years as the streets burn again

TV, music labels and corporations join the movement

This Morning co-hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield joined a "blackout" in protest against the death of George Floyd in the United States.

At 11am the ITV daytime show went dark, showing a black screen with the words "Black Lives Matter" in white lettering.

Major labels have joined other music industry groups and artists in pledging the blackout.

Organisers for The Show Must Be Paused project called for business to halt on Tuesday, as the US continues to be gripped by unrest.

Sony Music, Atlantic Records, Capitol Music Group, Warner Records and Def Jam were among the labels vowing The Show Must Be Paused, while Radiohead, Mumford & Sons and Peter Gabriel also shared their support on social media.

Singer-songwriter Gabriel tweeted: "Along with the civilised world I was horrified by the racist murder of George Floyd. This type of brutality needs to be confronted directly, with justice clearly seen to be done whenever & wherever it occurs."

Former Beautiful South singer Paul Heaton said activity on his Twitter account would be suspended on Tuesday, "thanks to the behaviour of white supremacists both in uniform & public office, and in support of all those communities suffering at their hands".

Revered music producer Quincy Jones also said he would be taking part. He wrote: "It's hard to know what to say because I've been dealing with racism my entire life. That said, it's rearing its ugly head right now & by God it's time to deal with it once & for all.

"As gatekeepers of the culture, it's our responsibility to not only come together to celebrate the wins, but also hold each other up during a loss."

Columbia Records said Tuesday "was not a day off" but a chance to "figure out ways to move forward in solidarity".

Corporations also joined the campaign, including Boohoo and Superdrug.

You may be wondering why your social media feeds were been engulfed by black squares yesterday. 

Celebrities, corporations, music labels and sports stars vowed not to post on their accounts on what is being called Blackout Tuesday following the death of George Floyd.

Demonstrations have broken out across the US following the death of Mr Floyd and other allegations of police brutality against people of colour.

Amid a febrile atmosphere, police have clashed with protesters in cities including New York, Los Angeles and Minneapolis, while Donald Trump has threatened to deploy the country's military unless state authorities stop ongoing violent demonstrations.

What is Blackout Tuesday?

The idea was to fill Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with black squares, freeing up the time usually dedicated to social media for people to educate themselves on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Organisers said they wanted Tuesday to be a "a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community" through "an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change".

The campaign hit a slight bump in the road early on Tuesday with many people using the hashtags dedicated to Black Lives Matter.

This clogged up feeds meant for information related to protests around the world, which is something organisers were understood to be keen to avoid.

Why were celebrities posting black squares on Instagram?

George Floyd, a 46-year-old bouncer, was killed on Monday May 25 by Derek Chauvin, a police officer, who pressed his knee into Mr Floyd's neck until he died while other police officers watched. 

Footage of the killing, taken by a bystander, showed Floyd lying face down and handcuffed, groaning for help and repeatedly saying, "please, I can't breathe," before becoming motionless.

Chauvin, had his knee on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total and two minutes and 53 seconds after Mr Floyd was unresponsive, according to a criminal complaint released by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.

On June 1, a medical examiner in Minnesota classified Mr Floyd's death as a homicide. 

Mr Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Floyd family, has now called for the Minneapolis police officers to face the more serious charge of first-degree murder, based on the new findings.

It has restored the Black Lives Matter movement at the forefront of the news agenda. 

Celebrities unite for Blackout Tuesday

A host of well-known celebrities have posted black squares on their social media accounts to their millions of followers.

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