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Last week, many businesses, brands, and celebrities expressed their support for Black Lives Matter by posting a single black square on social media with the hashtag #BlackOutTuesday. Since then, companies across the country have released their own signature statements, emails, or initiatives aimed at moving toward or supporting racial equality in America.
But, to many activists and consumers the black square and statements are seen as a cop-out and counterproductive to sharing scalable resources toward the Black and oppressed communities.
Critics and skeptics say a post appears meaningless if a business, brand, or celebrity doesn’t make a solid commitment to change.
TikTok user, Adam Martinez went viral with his “open your purse” video where he spoke to those with influential and large followings and told them to “put their money where their mouth is.” Now, many on social media have started calling on all businesses, brands, and influencers to donate money to organizations that work to fix these systemic issues, instead of just releasing general statements about them.
In the past week, major corporations and media brands have unveiled new initiatives to give more people of color a seat at the table in addition to donating millions of dollars to BLM and other social justice groups.
But, now that everyone is talking about the importance and significance of the Black Lives Matter movement, has it become a trend for brands to get behind?
“These statements are a sign of defensiveness more so than an indication that they are proactively working to deconstruct racism in this country,” Andre Perry, a fellow at the Brookings Institution whose work focuses on economic inclusion told ABC News.
“It is also a sign that they understand that consumer mindsets have changed, that all it takes is a few tweets to significantly put a dent in a company’s sales,” he added.
Perry touched on how the statements mean nothing if Black people are not being treated equally at work, or remain virtually nonexistent in company boardrooms.
“I would like to see companies juxtapose their statements with pictures of their corporate boards,” he said. “Have a picture of your board attached to those statements so they can see how incredulous some of these statements are.”
Many on Twitter have shared the same notion as Perry.
“Keep your pandering, what does that boardroom, talent management team, executive leadership committee look like?” one person tweeted in response to a Wall Street Journal article that highlighted the 35 “big companies from Facebook to Bank of America” and their response to the police killing of George Floyd.
Keep your pandering, what’s does that board room, talent management team, executive leadership committee look like? https://t.co/MKxPfYhRgR
“It’s nice to see all these corporations supporting the #BLM movement and all but #actionsspeak so tell me what you are going to do in the boardroom? Is it reflective of institutional racism or does it look like your workforce?” another person tweeted.
It’s nice to see all these corporations supporting the #BLM movement and all but #actionsspeak so tell me what you are going to do in the board room? Is it reflective of institutional racism or does it look like your workforce?
“I just heard that Bank of America just donated $1 billion to fight racial inequality? I got questions..What exactly is this money supposed to do? Does it really matter how much you donate if your board, directors and CEO’s are a room full of people who look like Joe Biden?” one man tweeted out.
So from the looks of it, people are ready for real change, not just a bunch of black squares and BLM tweets. It is time for businesses, brands, and celebrities to put their money where their mouth is and enact scalable initiatives towards diversity and inclusion. It’s also time to make sure leadership and business give all Americans a seat at the table. Especially for those who helped build it.
We here at AfterBuzz TV are in full support of the Black Lives Matter movement, so please continue to tune in to our network daily for more coverage!
Jeroslyn Jovonn is a LA-based Writer and Correspondent sounding off on pop culture, woke news, and more. Follow me on Instagram/TikTok @JeroslynDiva, Twitter @JeroslynDiva08
Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence
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