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#Blackouttuesday floods social media amid skepticism

Black squares fill social media pages on Tuesday to support #blackouttuesday.
Black squares fill social media pages on Tuesday to support #blackouttuesday.

Many Korean celebrities joined the world in supporting the #blackouttuesday movement, posting black square images on their Instagram accounts on Tuesday.

#Blackouttuesday was initiated by Atlanta Records marketing chief Jamila Thomas and Platoon’s Brianna Agyemang, who suggested putting the music industry on a pause and to think of ways to help the Black Lives Matter movement, following the police killing of George Floyd on May 25.

With famous artists and major music labels joining the movement, it quickly went viral.

Many Korean musicians, including Rain, Hyuna and former EXID member Hani posted black squares on their Instagram with the hashtag #blackouttuesday on Tuesday.

Actors who are familiar to US audiences, such as Claudia Kim, Park So-dam and Choi Woo-shik, also posted black squares to show support.

“We will also be participating in black out Tuesday and our 6/2 release has been pushed to 6/4,” said rapper and CEO of H1ghr Music Label Jay Park, on Instagram on Monday.

Responding to criticism from fans that using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter while posting of the black square box is clogging up crucial information regarding the protest movement, several celebrities, including singer Psy and actor Bae Doo-na, who initially posted using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter, either changed the tag to #blackouttuesday or deleted the hashtag in response to criticism from fans.

Other Korean artists posted their own versions of the black square to show support, like g.o.d’s Park Joon-hyung who posted a black square with a small white cross.

Meanwhile, international celebrities such as Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars and Post Malone -- and non-celebrities alike -- have expressed support, with over 28 million posts with #blackouttuesday on Instagram as of Wednesday afternoon.

Tens of millions of people have expressed support for the movement, but the rapid spread has raised concern that the initial purpose of the movement could be lost in the process.

The movement was specifically set to take place Tuesday “to intentionally disrupt the work week,” according to Thomas and Agyemang.

“It is a day to take a beat for an honest, reflective and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community,” they said in a statement online.

However, whether Koreans participating in the movement followed through beyond posting a black square with the hashtag remains uncertain.

Although many Korean celebrities joined the movement, few have posted ways to help support the movement, as Arianna Grande, Beyonce and Eminem have done.

Earlier, Koreans were disheartened to find out some celebrities who showed support for the medical staff fighting COVID-19 by participating in the “Thanks to you” challenge had gone out and about in Seoul’s nightlife district Itaewon, criticizing that their participation was a show to promote themselves.
The official Instagram account for #blackouttuesday, @theshowmustbepaused, indicates on Wednesday that more events are to follow. (Instagram)
The official Instagram account for #blackouttuesday, @theshowmustbepaused, indicates on Wednesday that more events are to follow. (Instagram)

The official Instagram page for the event, @theshowmustbepaused, posted a picture on Wednesday announcing that #blackouttuesday was only part one of a larger movement, hinting at similar events in the future.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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