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Flo Ngala

#TheShowMustBePaused Co-Founders Share Their Mission And More In 'Billboard'

Meet the two black women behind the movement.

June 2, 2020 will never be forgotten. One week after creating the #TheShowMustBePaused initiative and making a global impact on the music industry, cofounders founders Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas are gracing the cover of Billboard. With the neverending news on the global coronavirus pandemic and the emotional and mental exhaustion following the murder of George Floyd at the hand of police, the two rising music executives decided to make an effort to practice self-care and encourage others in entertainment to do the same.

A few days later, the music entertainment world unanimously came to a halt. Record labels, streaming platforms, and the like showcased their solidarity and support by releasing company statements encouraging their employees to take the time to learn, listen, and reflect on the systemic racism experienced within the black community.

In Billboard's latest cover story written by executive director of R&B and hip-hop Gail Mitchell, the two ladies spoke about how the movement came to be, what went right, what went wrong, and what they have planned.

On how the idea for #TheShowMustBePaused came about…

BA: “It was just a really heavy week for the black community. And people still had to work. It didn’t seem like anyone had a chance to really take in what was happening in the middle of coronavirus…It was just a lot while trying to keep the show moving. So I called Jamila that Friday and said we should take the day off, that it’s not business as usual.”

JT: “We started hitting up friends who were asking if they should share this privately or publicly. So we decided as friends to share it publicly, like, ‘What are we hiding for?’”’

On the solid black box people started posting online…

JT: “At some point between Monday night and Tuesday morning, people thought that a plain black box was supposed to be posted with the Black Lives Matter tag. That caused confusion because it was also pushing down vital information for the Black Lives Matter movement. That was never our intent, never part of our directives. The goal was not to mute ourselves.” 

On what they covered at the summit they held on Black Out Tuesday…

JT: Urban artists occupy most of the music charts, and we celebrate the genres at industry events and the Grammys. But when that community takes a hit, it seems like its every man for himself…There’s never a united front….The country is literally in a moment of transition. And music has to be at the forefront of that because of its influence.”

On Republic’s announcement to eliminate the term “urban music”…

BA: “It seems like a great step toward progress…I would just like to know what that means for them as a company and how they see that being defined moving forward. It’s just one word, but it’s a strong word in the music community.” 

On the one thing they want the industry to know about #TheShowMustBePaused…

BA: “This was not thought out in advance. It was not a march. It was not a rollout….It was a way for people to release and pause, because in the end we have to fix it and we have to heal as a society. And we can do this by changing the future.”

You can read the full Billboard cover story here.

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❗️#SAVAGEXFENTYSHOW VOL. 2❗️It's going down OCT 2 on @amazonprimevideo! @savagexfenty

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