Only days after protestors flooded the streets of Atlanta in response to the death of George Floyd, Instagram users began posting black tiles accompanied by the hashtag #blackouttuesday. The posts were intended to show solidarity with and support for black communities who face racism and racial injustice. While the black tiles quickly started trending throughout the social media platform, many companies within the entertainment industry were first to post. Amongst the first companies to post were notable talent agencies within Atlanta.
“We felt it was important to show our support and stand with the black community,” owner of Atlanta Models & Talent, Inc., Sarah Carpenter, commented. “We must fight racial injustice and demand equality.”
“The black tile was not posted to bring attention to the agency,” Joy Pervis stated after J Pervis Talent Agency decided to post the black tile on their Instagram profile. “We posted to stand united and in solidarity with all our employees, neighbors, friends of color and the entire black community.”
“It’s really encouraging to see our entire industry joining together to stand up against racism and racial injustice. It’s a great big step in the right direction, but now the real work begins,” president of People Store, Rick Estimond, told Oz. “We all posted our black tiles. Great. But it’s an empty gesture if we don’t follow it up with meaningful action.”
Other agencies weighed in on the issue of combating racism in the film industry moving forward and making sure this movement isn’t just a flash in the pan. “Only recently has Hollywood formally promoted inclusion within productions by implementing the ‘Inclusion Rider,” requiring a certain proportion of actors or staff to be women, people of color, LGBT, people with disabilities,” Pervis said. “This was a great step, but we must go beyond this. We must encourage our writers and media to create more content with people of color in every type of role.”