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Music industry calls for unity following the death of George Floyd

(Image credit: Probal Rashid/LightRocket - Getty)

The music industry has united in calling for a “Black Out Tuesday” in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

The 46-year-old died on May 25 after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, despite Floyd pleading that he couldn’t breathe.

Two minutes before Chauvin removed his knee, another officer checked Floyd’s wrist for a pulse but was unable to find one. He was taken to hospital and pronounced dead an hour later.

His death has sparked mass protests across the US, with musicians speaking out and record labels including Sony Music, Columbia Records, Def Jam, Universal, Atlantic Records, Interscope, Capitol Records, Republic Records, Warner Records and more now calling for "Black Out Tuesday" tomorrow (June 2).

Sony Music say it will be “a day of action committed to meaningful change in our communities both now and in the future,” while Def Jam report: “We must use our voices to affect change. We must confront systemic racism. We must challenge broken leadership. We must fight for the safety and dignity of black lives in peril.”

Atlantic Records say in a statement: “On Tuesday, June 2, Atlantic Records in conjunction with Warner Music Group will observe 'Black Out Tuesday. We will support our employees, artists and global community on this day.

“The music business at WMG will not go on as usual.

“While this is only one day, we are committed to continuing the fight for real change. We will be using this day to collectively reflect on what we as a company can do to put action towards change and we will be taking steps in the coming weeks and months.

“As part of this, we will be contributing to Black Lives Matter and other organisations that are doing crucial work to combat racial injustice.”

I'm more and more stunned and sickened when I hear of this stuff continuously happening

Duff McKagan

Musicians have also spoken out since Floyd's death, with Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan saying: “This cop on black racism has to stop, but we've known this forever. I'm more and more stunned and sickened when I hear of this stuff continuously happening. I am not a black man, so I can't even pretend to understand what it's like. But even more, I can't understand what it's like to be a racist white dipshit. 

“I don't get it. I will never 'get' it. Thankfully, I grew up different. Police training and vetting of new and old officers has to change radically. For starters. Peace to all of us.”

Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid said: "Of all the shocking mobile phone recorded extra judicial police killings, the murder of George Floyd is the most depraved exercise in contemptuous disregard for human life I’ve ever seen. Next time you see it – if you can stomach it – pay attention to the hand in pocket posture."

Sharing a video of a protest in Minneapolis, Ice-T said: "Please notice all the colours of the fists. This is a huge moment. The people have had enough."

Slipknot drummer Jay Weinberg said: “Black lives matter. Systemic racism exists. White privilege is real. I’m heartbroken to, yet again, witness the oppression and bigotry that Black people in America have consistently endured for centuries – at the hands of a system that’s broken to its very core.

"It’s time to speak up against police brutality and the perpetrators of systemic racism, and to become an ally to those who do not experience the same freedoms that we who share in our white privilege do. I’m hopeful that we can use our voices to enact real change. 

"That we can contribute our time, energy, donations, and compassion to fighting for real equality, freedom, and togetherness. Educate yourself. Vote. Use your voice. I will."

And Fishbone tweeted: "When a grown man's last words are 'mama' and you have literally brought him to his knees, how much more power do you need to show?"

Chauvin was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department and has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. He is due to appear in court on June 8.