TV station Nickelodeon took itself off air today in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, halting its normal programming for a total of eight minutes and 46 seconds - the length of time George Floyd struggled for breath during his fatal arrest.
Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck while restraining him, despite pleas from Floyd for him to stop, saying repeatedly that he could not breathe.
An official post mortem has since ruled that Floyd died by homicide after suffering cardiac arrest while restrained by Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin.
Officer Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Children's TV channel Nickelodeon joined in with the many people and organisations to support Black Lives Matter, bringing its scheduling to a standstill for a short period and playing the sound of breathing alongside the message 'I can't breathe'.
Announcing the interruption in broadcast, Nickelodeon shared a 'Declaration of Kids' Rights' on social media, saying: "You have the right to be seen, heard, and respected as a citizen of the world.
we are all part of the change #blacklivesmatter
- Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) June 1, 2020
"You have the right to a world that is peaceful. You have the right to be treated with equality, regardless of the colour of your skin.
"You have the right to be protected from harm, injustice, and hatred. You have the right to an education that prepares you to run the world. You have the right to your opinions and feelings, even if others don't agree with them."
Like many, Nickelodeon also took part in #BlackOutTuesday, saying its social media channels would be 'on pause as we reflect on recent events'.
"Our focus will be on building community, taking action, and sparking real change in the fight against racial injustice," a tweet said.
For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, we will go dark in tribute to George Floyd. We dedicate this time to the victims of police brutality and the powerful movement fighting for justice. Join @ColorofChange. Text DEMANDS to 55156. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/X6587CxuOw
- VH1 (@VH1) June 1, 2020
Several other ViacomCBS TV networks halted broadcast, including MTV, Comedy Central and VH1, also running the sound of breathing and the words 'I can't breathe' for more then eight minutes.
Announcing its plan to 'go dark' in tribute to Floyd, and to dedicate its channel to 'victims of police brutality and the powerful movement fighting for justice', VH1 - among others - also encouraged people to join Color of Change, the United States' largest online racial justice organisation.
Music streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube Music also took part, by way of special playlists, moments of silence and social media blackouts.
In contrast to Nickelodeon, Spotify opted to stream eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence to selected playlists and podcasts.
A lengthy blog post by the streaming service also promised to encourage its employees to educate themselves on 'what it means to be an effective ally to the Black community', with access to trained mental health professionals on hand. lt also promised to match financial donations made by employees to organisations fighting against racism and injustice.
The post concluded: "Now is not a time for silence, and Spotify stands with the Black community. As our support continues to evolve, we hope that these initial steps and actions will help push these conversations forward, promote deeper allyship, and usher in positive and lasting changes."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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