Pharrell Willams Helps Declare Juneteenth a State Holiday in Virginia

Columbia Records

On Tuesday, Pharrell Willams stood alongside Governor Ralph Northam in his home state of Virginia, proposing Juneteenth as a state holiday.

June 19th, also known as “Juneteenth”, is the day that marks the end of slavery in the United States. This important holiday is also commemorated as Emancipation Day and Black Independence Day. While Juneteenth is widely celebrated around the United States, there has been a push to declare this meaningful day as a national holiday.

“(Juneteenth) matters now because it says to the Black community, this is not just your history, this is everyone’s shared history, and we recognize it together,” Northam said. “This symbol, this holiday, is one step toward reconciliation.”

As Northam stated, as of this Friday (Juneteenth), only executive branch employees will receive pay. However, he also announced that he will be “backing legislation” to help make it an official state holiday which will pertain to courts, schools, and local governments.

“This is a very special moment,” Williams said. As Williams stood at the podium, he took the time to reflect and thank protesters/supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement for helping make this possible.

“This year, Juneteenth will look like no Juneteenth before. People of all ages and races, our advocates and allies as well, will together in solidarity for Black people like never before … It’s already happening in the streets,” Williams also said, of protesters. “And we love you for that. I’m grateful for those that are standing with us.”

Pharrell added, “I can’t say this enough — a paid holiday. It’s not the end of it, it’s merely just the beginning. Their lives matter. Their descendants’ lives matter. Black lives matter in the eyes of the commonwealth. I can’t say that it always has, but finally, we recognize that Black lives absolutely matter — and that’s not political.”

Pharrell continued on expressing what Juneteenth means to him. He exclaimed being a descendant of African American slaves, this day should be treated as a “celebration” as well as a chance for “our government, our corporations, and our citizens to all stand in solidarity with their African American brothers and sisters.”

It is about time that Black Lives Matter, is no longer just a hashtag, it is now a movement. The changes being made on a daily basis in support of the Black community are long overdue. As we can see, our voices are being heard and as Pharrell put it, “this is what listening looks like.”