On June 19th, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger, landed in Galveston, TX., with news that the Civil War had ended and that slavery was abolished. It was on that day, two-and-a-half years after the emancipation proclamation was signed, that the last of the enslaved africans were finally freed.
Juneteenth, as the day has come to be called, has been recognized by Black communities as the official independence day of Black people in American. Typically on this day, I’m in the Twin Cities’, waiting to get off work so that I can go celebrate the real emancipation day of my people with my fellow kin.
Living in Mexico City, now, it’s no longer a luxury I have, so this morning when I woke up I started searching for songs that made me feel Blackity Black Black Black. I found a “Black Lives Matter” playlist that Spotify put together and played it on shuffle. The first song that played was Beyoncé’s “Freedom,” from her classic album, Lemonade.
Instinctively my body started swaying, my head began to bob, and quickly I was locked in a full out jam sesh.
With lyrics like, “Freedom! Freedom! Where are you? ‘Cause I need freedom, too! I break chains all by myself Won’t let my freedom rot in hell Hey! I’ma keep running, ’cause a winner don’t quit on themselves,” accompanied by a strong drums and an emphatic beat,” it felt like I was being led to freedom by a Marching band.
The more you listen, the more liberated you feel. For this reason, Beyoncé’s “Freedom” should be the official anthem of Juneteenth.
Freedom may have been signed on paper, but we have ways to go till we fully achieve it. 155 years after the last slaves were finally freed, their descendants are fighting to preserve their freedom.
Since the killing of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020, Black folks around the world have taken to the streets, calling for an end of racial injustice and police brutality.
The marathon continues, but at least for one day let’s toast and celebrate our accomplishments, while blasting Beyoncé’s “Freedom” at maximum volume.
Let her voice and the beat of the drums liberate your body and mind from the anxiety, anger, fear, frustration and tiredness we’ve all been feeling these last few weeks.