The Biden-Harris administration will host a highly anticipated Juneteenth concert on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday, June 13.
The concert, set to coincide with Black Music Month, will showcase a star-studded lineup including renowned artists such as Jennifer Hudson, Method Man, Audra McDonald, Step Afrika!, Colman Domingo, Ledisi, Patina Miller, and the Tennessee State University Marching Band, Aristocrat of Bands.
Juneteenth, a significant holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, holds even greater importance this year after President Biden signed it into law in 2021, designating June 19 as National Independence Day.
The historical origins of Juneteenth trace back to June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce to enslaved individuals that they were finally free.
This momentous event occurred nearly two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.
Speaking at the bill signing ceremony, Vice President Kamala Harris emphasized the day’s significance, stating, “We have come far, and we have far to go. But today is a day of celebration. It is not only a day of pride but a day to rededicate ourselves to action.”
The Juneteenth concert will serve as a festive celebration and pay homage to Black Music Month.
The White House said it intends to uplift American art forms that resonate with the soul of the American experience.
Among the featured artists, Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, singer and talk show host Jennifer Hudson, and Cliff “Method Man” Smith, a member of the legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, will grace the stage with their extraordinary talents.
Juneteenth’s historical significance as the day when the last enslaved individuals in the United States learned of their freedom holds a deep and powerful meaning.
“This is a day of profound weight and profound power, a day in which we remember the moral stain and the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take,” President Biden remarked.
He said with Juneteenth solidified as a federal holiday, commemorations and celebrations are poised to grow and evolve, as exemplified by events like the White House concert.
Biden also noted that the concert will serve to highlight Black Music Appreciation Month. Earlier this month, the president issued a proclamation highlighting Black entertainers in the music industry.
“Much of Black music is rooted in African rhythms, coupled with the experience of slavery and struggle in America,” the president asserted.
“Barred from expressing themselves in their native tongues, enslaved people developed a language to articulate their hopes, dreams, sense of loss, and tenacity to overcome the harrowing nature of their lives.”
He concluded that all should celebrate the music and artists “that challenge us to think critically, stand up to injustice, and believe in ourselves.”
“We recommit to expanding the promise of dignity and opportunity for all Americans,” Biden insisted. “And we revel in the sounds, spirit, and soul of some of the very best music ever created.”