CNN’s ‘Juneteenth: A Global Celebration of Freedom’ Begins with Chaka Khan – NewsOpener

CNN’s ‘Juneteenth: A Global Celebration of Freedom’ Begins with Chaka Khan – NewsOpener
CNN’s ‘Juneteenth: A Global Celebration of Freedom’ Begins with Chaka Khan – NewsOpener
Gospel star Yolanda Adams opened the show with a rousing rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a historic rallying cry that is also considered the African-American National Anthem. A beaming Chaka Khan, backed by The Roots, followed up with her hits “Ai n’t Nobody” and “I’m Every Woman,” dedicating the latter song to the “powerful women” in the Hollywood Bowl audience.

Vice President Kamala Harris appeared in a recorded message.

The concert celebrates Juneteenth, the holiday that marks the end of slavery in the United States. Black artists taking to the stage on Sunday night include Earth, Wind & Fire, Mickey Guyton, Khalid and Bell Biv Devoe and more.

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Also appearing at the event will be President Joe Biden, former First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Scott, who will perform spoken word.

The entire creative team behind the concert is black, CNN’s Sara Sidner reported before the show, including creator Shawn Gee of Live Nation Urban and Jesse Collins Entertainment. The night also marks the first time an all-black Re-Collective Orchestra will perform at the Hollywood Bowl, Sidner said.

This is the second year the US has recognized June 16 as a federal holiday, but many African-Americans have honored the date for years with parades, parties and family gatherings. The holiday is also an opportunity to reflect on the persistent systemic inequities faced by African Americans.

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The event honored the ‘grandmother of Juneteenth’

In a special leading up to the show, activist Opal Lee, 95, who fought for years to make June 16 a federal holiday, told CNN’s Don Lemon that she was “pinching [herself].”
Earlier this Juneteenth, Lee, considered the “grandmother of Juneeteenth,” walked 2.5 miles to symbolize the two and a half years enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas lived in slavery after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. in 1863.

Lee said Americans should spend the holidays celebrating, learning and continuing to advocate for change.

“I advocate that we celebrate from June 19 to July 4,” he said. “That I would be celebrating freedom.”

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CNN’s Harmeet Kaur and Chloe Melas contributed to this report.

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