DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s a solemn movement sweeping social media.
#BlackoutTuesday aims to show solidarity against police brutality, racism and inequality.
Several major corporations voiced support for the movement, including AT&T, Mary Kay, WingStop and Neiman Marcus, which are all based in North Texas.
“Not just on #BlackoutTuesday, but everyday we stand in solidarity with the entire black community, our guests, team members & brand partners against all forms of racism, violence & discrimination,” a tweet from WingStop stated. “Actions speak louder than words & we’re currently working on ways we can help.”
“The events of the past few days underscore the violence and racism faced by black people in America today. At AT&T we stand for equality and embrace freedom,” AT&T tweeted.
For eight minutes and 46 seconds, entertainment networks owned by ViacomCBS went dark to honor the memory of George Floyd, the man who was killed by a Minneapolis Police officer last week.
ViacomCBS also owns CBS 11.
Across the country, companies like Nike and Netflix released statements in support of the black community.
“It’s interesting because major corporations have learned through other societal issues that they have to step up,” said Jacquelyn Thomas, an associate professor of marketing at Southern Methodist University.
Thomas said consumers now expect brands to take a moral stand. But she said companies may be motivated by more just than altruism.
By ignoring important issues, brands may risk alienating their consumers and employees.
A 2019 Nielsen report estimated the spending power of black Americans to be $1.3 trillion.
“I think everybody stops and pays attention when it comes to dollars and cents. To say it’s not a part of it is naive,” Thomas said.
But as demonstrations take place across the nation, are corporate shows of support too little, too late?
“I think the timing is just perfect,” said Henry Brown, the president of Mesquite Tri-East NAACP.
But Brown also said companies cannot merely “talk the talk.” He said once the smoke clears, corporations must take action to directly combat inequality.
“We need verifiable ways to see what their business is giving back to their communities,” Brown said.