Celebrities used their platforms over the Juneteenth weekend to celebrate, reflect and educate.
June 19, known as Juneteenth, became a federal holiday only last year. It marks the date the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas, became aware of the freeing of the enslaved in secessionist states by the Emancipation Proclamation, more than two years after it was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863.
Juneteenth was mainly celebrated in Texas, but has taken on greater national significance following the renewed racial reckonings in the summer of 2020.
For the past three years, Lizzo has held a Juneteenth fundraiser to raise money for Black businesses and organizations.
“Happy Juneteenth y’all! Every year I hold a Juneteenth fundraiser where I donate to, signal boost, and buy from black businesses. This is our 3rd year and we’ve raised nearly half a million dollars for black businesses and organizations,” she shared on Instagram Sunday, directing followers to lizzolovesyou.com for more information on getting involved.
Here’s how Lizzo and more stars marked the day.
Lizzo says ‘we ain’t free until we are all free’
The “Truth Hurts” singer also took to her Instagram story to share more about her Juneteenth fundraiser and share why the holiday is important to celebrate.
“Juneteenth is about giving black citizens of this country our own Declaration of Independence. It is about the complicated and nuanced history we have with this country. A day to celebrate the autonomy of our does and freedom from slavery. A time of rememberance of those who built this country and space for black Americans to honor our ancestors,” she shared in a story. “I hope you’ll use Juneteenth as an opportunity to educate yourself on our history and on how to be anti-racist. Because we ain’t free until we are all free.”
Michelle Obama shares message on power of voting
Former first lady Michelle Obama posted a video message on Juneteenth to encourage Americans to register to vote.
“Juneteenth is a day of power—a chance to celebrate our history and our triumphs, our resilience and our struggle,” she captioned the post.
“Today is about coming together and honoring those before us who reached for progress, who helped build this country with their bare hands, who marched, fought, and protested—who did everything they could so that we might have a voice and a vote.”
In the clip, Obama talks about the importance of getting to the ballot this November to elect officials “who make critical decisions in our communities.”
“When we vote, we can flex our power,” she says and directs followers to whenweallvote.org.
Amanda Gorman reflects on celebrating holiday for generations
Amanda Gorman posted a simple, but powerful verse to social media on Sunday.
“Unshackled from terror, To love is how we vow, That we are here, That we are. It is how we break free,” she wrote, adding, “Happy Juneteenth everyone.”
The 23-year-old poet, who read her own “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, also spoke to NPR to reflect on the holiday.
“African Americans and also communities beyond that have been celebrating Juneteenth for generations without it being federalized … it wasn’t something that we need permission to look at,” she told the outlet. “We are celebrating African American liberty, but a liberty that has typically come delayed, a liberty that was not promised but something that we continuously have to fight for … including today.”
Mariah Carey, Viola Davis more stars share messages
Mariah Carey marked both Juneteenth and Father’s Day in a Sunday Instagram post.
“Celebrate Your Black Excellence! #HappyJuneteenth” and “#HappyFathersDay Rest in Power Alfred Roy Carey,” she wrote alongside a photo of of her 11-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe.
Viola Davis and Kerry Washington both shared a graphic with a Juneteenth to-list which included: learn black history, wear black, red and green, uplift black voices, read black authors, listen to black artists and shop black-owned businesses.
“Tag your favorite Black artists, authors, influential voices and black-owned businesses,” Davis wrote alongside the image.
Tracee Ellis Ross posted a clip from a Juneteenth episode of “Black-ish.” “What an honor it was be a part of TV that helped bring awareness to such a historic day,” she wrote.
What is Juneteenth?:What’s the significance behind the federal holiday?
Contributing: Erin Jensen