Usher Writes Op-Ed Calling For Juneteenth To Become A National Holiday

“Let’s uplift our resilient history. Let’s honor our people. Happy Juneteenth, America.”

(AllHipHop News) People across the country are celebrating Juneteenth today. June 19 marks 155 years since Union army general Gordon Granger informed enslaved Black people in Texas that they were now free.

Juneteenth became a national discussion over the last several weeks because this year’s celebration comes as Black Lives Matter protests have sprung up in all 50 states since the murder of George Floyd. While 47 states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as a day of observance, it is still not recognized on the federal level.

Award-winning R&B/Pop singer Usher is calling for the United States government to formally acknowledge Juneteeth. He wrote an op-ed article for the Washington Post under the headline: “Why it’s so important that Juneteenth become a national holiday.”

“We could observe it, as many black Americans already do, by celebrating both our first step toward freedom as black people in America and also the many contributions to this land: the construction of Black Wall Street; the invention of jazz, rock n’ roll, hip-hop and R&B; and all the entrepreneurship and business brilliance, extraordinary cuisine, sports excellence, political power and global cultural influence black Americans have given the world,” wrote Usher.

The Texas-born/Tennesse-bred/Georgia-based musician added, “And rather than observing Juneteenth as we do other holidays, by taking it off, we can make it a day when black culture, black entrepreneurship, and black business get our support. A national Juneteenth observance can affirm that Black Lives Matter!”

Usher also called on the United States Congress to immediately pass legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. Democratic senators Kamala Harris of California, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, and Cory Booker of New Jersey announced a bill to make June 19 an annual nationwide celebration.

“As we celebrate today, let’s stay open to possibility. Let’s support black-owned businesses today and every day. Let’s uplift our resilient history. Let’s honor our people. Happy Juneteenth, America,” concluded Usher. Read his full opinion piece here.