J’can artistes join ‘Blackout Tuesday’ movement - Share stories of dealing with racism

June 03, 2020
Protesters chant during a solidarity march for George Floyd, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in New York. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25.
Protesters chant during a solidarity march for George Floyd, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in New York. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25.
Macka Diamond
Macka Diamond

Even amid criticism that they would rather support an 'American issue' than lend their voices to the problems facing their own country, Jamaican artistes joined in on yesterday's global social media blackout.

Black boxes, hashtagged 'Blackout Tuesday', flooded the various online platforms as the world stood in solidarity with the 'Black Lives Matter' movement that has ignited worldwide protests.

Agent Sasco, Ishawna, Shenseea, Wayne Marshall and Romain Virgo were among the local stars who used their platforms to support the movement.

Some entertainment industry professionals shared that as 'black musicians' who have to travel to the US, it is important that they not remain silent in these times of turmoil.

Entertainer QQ, a dual citizen, told THE STAR that he believes he was targeted in the US because of his skin colour.

"Last year in Florida, I had a situation where I was parked in my car on the phone and the police approached me saying they got a call that I was moving from house to house. I was parked one place. She (the officer) asked for my licence, checked it, everything was OK. She gave it back but she stood there for a few minutes. She was perhaps not satisfied and so she came back, asked me who owned the motor car; I told her. It was his nickname because I didn't know his government name and she still wasn't satisfied," he recalled. "She started to racially profile me, called backup and all sorts of things. I maintained a calm composure and eventually I was able to proceed, but it certainly had an impact on me in the sense that I was being misjudged by the colour of my skin and the car that I was sitting in. It was a super nice car. Up to this day sometimes, I think back on it especially with what is going on right now and I'm like 'wow, I could have been in the statistics'."

Macka Diamond who, even in Jamaica, has been subjected to harsh criticism because of her looks, said she becomes even more of a target when she travels.

Was in Canada

"I think it was in Vancouver, Canada, and I was just walking in the mall and this man walked past and just shouted 'ni**er' at me. I was like 'what'! I cursed him out and crowd came down and everything. I have had more than one experience when people would like scorn you and not use the bathroom yuh use or look at you like yuh a thief or supmn, and so I know it (racism) still exists, it nuh gone nuh weh," she said. "All of the things happening lately have just made me realise even more that I need to come together with my black brothers and sisters and join in on this. I am black and I know the injustice. I have experienced it so I wouldn't feel like myself if I see dis 'Black Lives Matter' movement and nuh join in."

Popular selector Tony Matterhorn, who resides in the US, says although he has never let racism affect him, he has experienced it and thus supports any movement that denounces the act.

Matterhorn, who would normally host his Instagram live party dubbed Tissue Tuesdays last night, called off the event in support of 'Blackout Tuesdays'.

"I have travelled over the world and I have faced it (racism), especially when I was younger, and although it never bothered me because in my mind I was superior, I know that not everyone is that strong-minded," he said. "I have children who are growing up in the US and I have to ensure that I teach them that the colour of their skin doesn't determine who they are, and that people will feel threatened by them because they're black. I support this movement for them."

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