Updated: Jul 21, 2021
Tomorrow is Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, Liberation Day. It is the day when all slaves were finally free due to the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation. The first “Jubilee Day” observance was held in Texas the following year. We continue that celebration now, 156 years later, remembering when this day started, recognizing where we are now, and realizing the work that still needs to be done. There are many artistic and musical creatives in communities taking an active role in their communities and participating in events such as Juneteenth.
[You can learn more about the history and celebration of Juneteenth on the official website.]
Since its inception Jubilee Day, now Juneteenth or Freedom Day, has been a day filled with food, music, family, and remembrance. If you are looking for a creative way to celebrate Juneteenth with others, there is a Zine workshop taught by our very own Art Instructor, James, at the free virtual Juneteenth celebration hosted by Sistahs with Sense. In addition to learning how to zine, there will be dancing, cooking demonstrations and talks about the importance of Juneteenth and more as people will come together virtually to honor Juneteenth as a community.
While celebrating at home you can also listen to our clean Juneteenth Spotify playlist that is comprised of musicians who have been active in their support of the community and black rights movement. The songs and artists in this playlist rejoice in the successes of the black right movement as well as recognize the changes that still need to occur. They creatively use music and lyricism to covey emotions and messages of sorrow, strength, success, and hope for the future. We have selected a small handful out of many spectacular musicians out there who are using their platform for change.
Glory (From the Motion Picture “Selma”), by Common and John Legend
Black Parade, by Beyoncé
Underdog, by Alicia Keys
Blinding Lights, by The Weeknd
Sandra’s Smile, by Blood Orange
Baltimore, by Prince
The Chosen Ones, by Solange
Entrepreneur, by Pharrell Williams, featuring JAY-Z
One Man Can Change the World, by Big Sean, featuring Kanye West and John Legend
We Are (From the Motion Picture “Ice Age Continental Drift”), by Keke Palmer
Victory, by Janelle Monáe
Freedom, by Beyoncé, featuring Kendrick Lamar
You can listen to the Juneteenth playlist on Spotify here. I do want to mention of some other musicians who have had a major impact on the movement through their music. Special mentions go out to Ice T, J Cole, Run the Jewels, D’Angelo, Drake, Lizzo... and so many others. There’s honestly not enough time to recognize them all.
Throughout history, musicians and artists have played a large role in social change. This tradition continues through today. As you reflect on Juneteenth, Freedom, and Jubilee day, let us know in the comments what music you are listening to. What should we add to our playlist?
Sydney Davis-Campos is the Virtual Learning Coordinator at Able ARTS Work, Learn for Life. She has a B.A. in Studio Art and Art History. Sydney has worked at Able ARTS Work for almost 5 years where she has also held the positions of Art Instructor and an Assistant Program Manager.