Usher joins a growing list of stars calling for Juneteenth to be federally recognized as a holiday.
Usher is known as an R&B sensation but, today, the singer is proving he’s also a gifted writer. The superstar wrote an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Friday advocating for the declaration of Juneteenth as a national holiday in the U.S.
Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the liberation of slaves in the United States celebrated annually on June 19th, and the Grammy-award winner laid out his argument for his proposal in the piece.
"Recognizing Juneteenth as a national holiday would be a small gesture compared with the greater social needs of black people in America," Usher wrote. "But it can remind us of our journey toward freedom, and the work America still has to do.
He continued, “And rather than observing Juneteenth as we do other holidays, by taking it off, we can make it a day when black culture, black entrepreneurship and black business get our support. A national Juneteenth observance can affirm that Black Lives Matter!"
The 41-year-old megastar was raised in Tennessee and moved to Atlanta. He talked about his education in the South growing up, saying, “I was taught in school one version of U.S. history that frequently excluded the history of my family and my community. The black history I learned came from the Eyes On the Prize documentary that aired during Black History Month."
The "Confessions" singer concluded, "I proudly join the incredible people and organizations who have been working on this for years, among them the inspiring Opal Lee, a 93-year-old from Fort Worth, Tex., who has campaigned for the recognition of Juneteenth at the state and local level. There has never been a more urgent time than now to get this done. As we celebrate today, let’s stay open to possibility. Let’s support black-owned businesses today and every day. Let’s uplift our resilient history. Let’s honor our people. Happy Juneteenth, America."
Usher joins a slew of other celebrities who have advocated for the recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday including Quavo and Pharrell, who announced the official recognizance of the holiday in his home state of Virginia with the governor.