The streaming music service Pandora endorsed the Black Lives Matter movement while ignoring the deaths of Dallas police officers.
Collected via e-mail, July 2016
July 2016 saw a week of high-profile shootings involving police the United States: On 5 July 2016, Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; the following day, Philando Castile was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop in Minnesota; and the day after that a sniper shot and killed five police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas.
On 8 July 2016, the streaming music service Pandora posted a message on social media expressing a feeling of pain and a gesture of support related to those events:
Although Pandora’s post stated that their “hearts ache for all of those who unfairly lost their lives” and included the hashtag #LoveAboveAll, their use of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag to represent the victims of police shootings but not an equivalent hashtag to represent the policemen killed in Dallas (such as #BlueLivesMatter) generated controversy along with calls for boycotts of the music service. That reaction then prompted social media calls for people to subscribe to Pandora as a gesture of support:
@pandora_radio and I'm deleting now
— Big_Blue_Nate123 (@BlueNate123) July 9, 2016
— Olivia X (@EsSeNCeofaDiVa) July 11, 2016
Social media messages expressing anger over Pandora’s message often asserted that the Black Lives Matter movement is anti-police, or that the movement was responsible for the shooting of police in Dallas. Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza attempted to dispel these rumors during an appearance on All in with Chris Hayes:
“Black Lives Matter has never, ever called for the murder of police officers,” Garza told Hayes. “What we have said over and over again is that it is time in this country for policing to be accountable, transparent and responsible. That’s not rhetoric. That is what communities in the United States want to see from the people who protect and serve them. And so quite frankly, we can, at the same time as we grieve the loss of life of several officers who were killed last night, we can also push to demand that there be accountable, responsive, transparent policing that has oversight form communities and that is accountable to the communities they are supposed to protect and serve.”
Garza added that Black Lives Matter isn’t concerned with inciting more violence — in fact, the movement condemns it — but with tearing down the assumption that black people are criminals.
“We are not anti-police,” she declared. “We are anti our people being murdered in the streets. What happened to Alton Sterling, what happened to Philando, what happens to so many black people in our communities is absolutely unacceptable, and I think that’s something that we can all agree on.”
Ironically, those upset over Pandora’s message announced that they would be boycotting the streaming music service on Facebook, even though Facebook openly expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement by erecting a Black Lives Matter sign outside their headquarters in Menlo Park, California: