The White House is planning to host its first-ever Juneteenth concert in honor and recognition of the newest federal holiday.
NewsOne can reveal in an exclusive announcement that the Juneteenth concert will be held on the South Lawn of the White House next Tuesday, June 13, and will feature an impressive lineup that draws from the very best in arts and entertainment including singers, actors and actresses, hip-hop and HBCU cultures, and then some.
Confirmed appearances will be made by the following artists:
Broadway Inspirational Voices
Cliff “Method Man” Smith
Fisk Jubilee Singers
Hampton University Concert Choir
Maverick City Music
Morgan State University Marching Band – The Magnificent Marching Machine
Tennessee State University Marching Band – Aristocrat of Bands
“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band
The festivities will also be taking place during Black Music Month, a nod to how the Biden Administration plans to use the moment to help raise greater cultural awareness, Steve Benjamin, Senior Advisor to the President for Public Engagement, said.
“Two years ago, President Biden signed legislation to establish Juneteenth as the first new Federal holiday since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day nearly four decades ago and he is proud to host the first Juneteenth Concert on the White House South Lawn. This is a day to celebrate as the Biden-Harris Administration continues to take an unprecedented whole-of-government approach to advancing equity and addressing the lasting impacts of systemic racism on Black communities,” Benjamin, who is also the former mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, said in a statement emailed to NewsOne. “Since 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration has implemented initiatives to expand economic opportunity for Black families, provided historic support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, improved health outcomes for Black communities, and taken important steps to protect voting rights, advance police reform, and enhance access to justice.”
Urban One, the parent company of NewsOne, is a media partner with the White House for the Juneteenth concert.
“We are thrilled to be a media partner for the inaugural White House Juneteenth Concert. We join the Biden-Harris Administration in celebrating Juneteenth and the community, culture and music of a people who helped shape the very foundation of this nation,” Michelle L. Rice, President of TV One and CLEO TV, which is also under the Urban One umbrella, said in a statement. “Urban One has a legacy of being a trusted media source and voice for the Black community, so this partnership truly aligns with our mission. We look forward to partnering with White House in the future to amplify important cultural and historically significant events such as Juneteenth.”
President Joe Biden last week signed a proclamation recognizing Black Music Month to “pay homage to legends of American music, who have composed the soundtrack of American life. Their creativity has given rise to distinctly American art forms that influence contemporary music worldwide and sing to the soul of the American experience.”
The Juneteenth concert will be held in advance of the actual holiday, which is on June 19, and a few days before the second anniversary of Biden signing into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which officially introduced Juneteenth as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021.
This Juneteenth concert is supported by National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Pernod Ricard USA, STARZ #TaketheLead Initiative and The Recording Academy.
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth, which has also been referred to as Black Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, not only marks the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas on June 19, 1865, but is also a historic moment in American history and the culmination of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation that was written three years prior.
Texas was opposed to freeing slaves, prompting a military operation led by Union troops to cause the end of slavery in the Lone Star state.
The cultural impact of Juneteenth is a resounding reminder of the country’s ugly past regarding the enslavement of Black people.
The roots of the holiday started in the coastal Texas city of Galveston, which served as the theater for the Union’s seizure and possession of the state and still remains the central area where Juneteenth celebrations have continued for decades. Similar celebrations subsequently began sprouting throughout the state – and across the country – where celebrants were using the day as an opportunity to reflect on the rich history and contribution of African Americans to the fabric of the country.
Now, it is a federal holiday, the nation’s 12th and the first new one since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983.
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