• Rhea Warren

Major corporations are taking a stand, or a knee, with Black Lives Matter

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Excessive use of police force is not new to the African-American communities, but the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have incited outrage across the nation. Corporate America has also taken notice.

Apple Music participated in the viral Blackout Tuesday movement on June 2. Instead of simply posting a black square on social media, the music and video streaming service took it a step further. Instead of users being able to access popular Apple Music features, they were met with a message.

“In steadfast support of the Black voices that define music, creativity, and culture, we use ours. This moment calls upon us all to speak and act against racism and injustice of all kinds. We stand in solidarity with Black communities everywhere,” read Apple Music’s statement.

Readers were then prompted with the option to “Listen Together”, which redirected them to the Beats 1 live radio station showcasing black artists.

Though Uber Technologies, Inc. is primarily known for its ride-sharing app, it also works in the food delivery industry. In response to the resurgence and outcry of Black Lives Matter, Uber Eats created a function for American and Canadian consumers to exclusively order from black-owned businesses - even waiving delivery fees.

ViacomCBS pledged $5 million to social justice issues and announced a virtual community service day for June 18. On Monday, June 1, regular programming stopped for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the exact amount of time that Floyd was held to the ground with a knee on his neck. The words “I can’t breathe” and the sound of a person gasping for air was shown on ten networks including BET, MTV, CMT, Comedy Central, CBS Sports Network, and Nickelodeon.

While corporate support is likely altruistic, statistics show that social movements also impact Corporate America’s bottom line. Studies show that 60 percent of Americans want to see businesses support social and environmental change. Almost 90 percent of consumers are more inclined to purchase a product if the corporation supports the issues that they care about. Conversely, nearly 75 percent of consumers will not support businesses that hold opposing views to their personal beliefs.

Black Lives Matter, with protests in all 50 U.S. states and 18 other countries, is the hot button issue in America. Corporate America is aware of its corporate social responsibility, and is making efforts to generate change for social justice.

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