Pharrell Williams Helps Announce Juneteenth As State Holiday In Virginia

By Peyton Blakemore

June 17, 2020

Pharrell Williams helped make history in his home state of Virginia.

The 47-year-old music icon joined Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in a press conference on Tuesday (June 17), to announce that June 19, known as Juneteenth, will officially be recognized as a state holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.

“From this moment on, when you look at the vastness of the night sky, and you see those stars moving up there, know that those stars are our African ancestors dancing. They’re dancing in celebration because their lives are finally being acknowledged,” Pharrell said. "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."

“This is our chance in Virginia to lead by example," he continued. "This is our chance to lead, to truly embrace the importance of Juneteenth and treat it as a celebration of freedom that black people deserve." The esteemed musician went on to add, "This is about proper recognition, observation and celebration. This is the chance for our government, our corporations and our citizens to all stand in solidarity with their African-American brothers and sisters.”

“I would like to see corporations that call Virginia their home, lead the rest of the country: give people the paid day off," Pharrell urged, noting that "our country excels at celebrating Independence Day, but it's not perfect. Juneteenth deserves the same level of recognition and celebration. July 4, 1776 not everybody was free and celebrating their Independence Day. So here's our day and if you love us, it'll be your day too."

“There is no turning back. We are only moving one direction now: forward," he concluded.

According to Virginia's Governor, all state employees in the executive branch will be given a paid day off on Juneteenth.

The decision came after a number of major companies, including Twitter, Nike, and the NFL, announced that Juneteenth will be recognized as a company holiday.

Photo: Getty Images

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