Brianna Agyemang – The Ghanaian who made the Music Industry Pause for George Floyd

Brianna Agyemang – The Ghanaian who made the Music Industry Pause for George Floyd
  • Music execs Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang asked their industry to pause business on Tuesday and examine ways to support black communities. Millions joined.
  • The hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused was shared more than 700,000 times, while its official social accounts racked up over 70,000 followers.


 “George Floyd was killed on a Monday and the following Tuesday we all went back to work. This should not have been the case and this is why we called for the industry to pause. 


The industry blackout initiative, which started under the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused, was the brainchild of two black women who work in music marketing, Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang.


Brianna (top left) with her family in Ghana

Brianna grew up outside her country of origin Ghana, New York to be precise where she was exposed to hip hop culture which she imbibed.  she earned her street creed through sheer hard work, passion, and grit. She has interned for a plethora of music groups from bad bod entertainment to becoming a senior Directing of marketing for Atlantic records. She is currently  Senior Artist campaign manager for Platoon a music share platform that supports independent artists that are Spot on.

What sparked the initiative?

We watched on the media as George Floyd's death sparked a unified force in the black community to fight the oppression and injustice which they faced every day, a myriad of killings and hushed injustice triggered spasms of rioters to come together to fight injustice. The problem was that not everyone was involved especially the music industry which had benefitted tremendously from black culture and art.

The two executives were not going to have it and they called out to their colleagues to support the course using music as a vehicle to drive home the slogan that Black lives matter.

Black Lives Matter Protesters clashes with police

Using what they knew best social media and creativity that comes from thinking outside the box they coined the tagline #TheShowMustBePaused, to give voice and solidarity to the course which had engulfed most cities in flame. A new voice from boulevard added flesh to the protest. Trump had promised to unleash the military on the protesters who he branded as thugs.

What started as a blackout Instagram post took a life of its own with several celebrities using the hashtag to draw conversations and sparking a movement which soon engulfed thousands of media enthusiast to jump on the smart-wagon.

Under the name #TheShowMustBePaused, Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, two black women who work in music marketing, wrote to basically anybody willing to read, stating that in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbery and countless other Black citizens at the hands of the police, they are no longer willing to continue to conduct business as usual without regard for Black lives. It was definitely felt.


The music industry is a multibillion-dollar industry, an industry that has profited predominantly from Black art. Our mission is to hold the industry at large, including major corporations + their partners who benefit from the efforts, struggles, and successes of Black people accountable.” 



They Hushed!


"Tuesday, June 2nd is meant to intentionally disrupt the work week. Monday suggests a long weekend and we can't wait until Friday for change. 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."

The digital protest went worldwide and was adopted by artists like Yoko Ono and the Rolling Stones, platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, media companies from Nickelodeon, to MTV, Paramount Pictures, and VH1, to Columbia Records, RCA Records, Warner Music Group, Spotify, and artists like Elton John, Madonna, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Quincy Jones, and other creative communities, like theater, dance, and film.

Many others decided to “mute” themselves online Tuesday as part of the blackout, while skeptics worried that silence was not helping. 

The campaign hit a  snag at a point as people confused the hashtags meant for BLM which advocated to fight tyranny and rally donations towards the movement #BlacklivesMatter.

Unintentionally using the #BLM with #TheShowMustBePaused on the black square caused #BlackLivesMatter pages to be flooded with simple squares rather than information and resources, leading several to call out the problem.

The Show Must Be Paused released an additional statement clarifying its intent.

“The purpose was never to mute ourselves,” the group said. “The purpose is to disrupt.”



What's the silver-lining?

Brands succeed when they break through in culture. And branding is a set of techniques or strata designed to generate cultural relevance. Digital technologies have not only created potent new social networks but also dramatically altered how culture works.

If we understand crowd culture then we can figure out why branded culture strategies have fallen flat- and what alternative branding methods are empowered by social media.

Crowd culture converts an elite concern into a national social trauma. By targeting novel ideologies from crowd cultures, brands can find a way to be visible.

“Yesterday was a strong start to the change we want to make in the industry,” said Agyemang in a statement.

“We are taking all thoughts and ideas that were gathered and we will be implementing them into Phase 2 of this movement. Next steps are about clarifying needs and mobilizing the people to be the change we wish to see. The goal is to tap into the community at large to create change that is impactful and long lasting.”

It’s all about the communique.


Tope Adegoke Adedeji writes for the vaultz