It’s that time. Red, White and Blue everything. BBQ’s, hot dogs and pool parties. As a kid, all I remembered was hamburgers and fireworks on that day. As an adult, I don’t celebrate the 4th of July. Matter of fact, our Independence just passed on June 19th.
We never learned about Juneteenth in school. We were only taught about the 4th of July, Independence Day. Whose independence are we celebrating because black people weren’t really free? Black people were still slaves on the day that Declaration of Independence was signed. It wasn’t until I read Frederick Douglass’ famous “What to the Slave Is The Fourth of July” that I realized that this wasn’t a holiday for US.
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.” -Frederick Douglas
Now, don’t get me wrong, I will take my day off or work for some holiday pay! Please be mindful of others who do not celebrate the holiday and respect their decision. As a parent, I plan on having a discussion with my son about Independence Day and Juneteenth! These conversations are necessary now more than ever.
Let me tell you what Black people do celebrate around the 4th of July….Essence. The Essence Music Festival, also known as “the party with a purpose” is celebrating it’s 50th year. The annual festival is usually held in New Orleans around the 4th of July weekend. This year’s festival has gone virtual due to COVID-19 with two back to back weekends of music, entertainment, empowerment and culture. Now that’s what I’m celebrating! This year’s theme is “Unstoppable.” Virtual experiences include Wellness House, Beauty Carnival, Wealth & Power and let’s not forget the evening concert on July 4th! Here’s the link!
In 2020, we still aren’t FREE. So what are you celebrating? As I write this blog, we are still demanding justice for Breonna Taylor.
“I always hated the Fourth of July, even before I realized what a travesty such a celebration was for Black people in this country.” -Audrey Lourde