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The White House will host a star-studded concert featuring Black artists next week as part of Juneteenth and Black Music Month celebrations.
Musicians and actors like Jennifer Hudson, Audra McDonald, Ledisi and Cliff “Method Man” Smith will join President Biden and first lady Jill Biden next Tuesday on the South Lawn to mark the 158th anniversary of the end of slavery in America.
Historically Black colleges and universities will also be present for the concert. Fisk Jubilee Singers, Hampton University Concert Choir, Morgan State University Marching Band and Tennessee State University Marching Band will perform. The historical African American dance style of stepping will also be represented by Step Afrika!, the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping.
Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday in 2021, the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983. Tuesday’s event will be the first Juneteenth concert celebrated at the White House.
On May 31 this year, Biden recognized June as Black Music Month as a way to “pay homage to legends of American music, who have composed the soundtrack of American life.”
“Much of Black music is rooted in African rhythms, coupled with the experience of slavery and struggle in America,” Biden said. “Barred from expressing themselves in their native tongues, enslaved people developed a language to articulate their hopes, dreams, sense of loss, and tenacity to overcome the harrowing nature of their lives. They used music to strategically and creatively voice their most deeply held feelings.”
“Today, the creative ways that Black music tells stories of trial and triumph in American life continue to move us all to understand the common struggles of humanity. Spirituals, gospel, the blues, R&B, rock and roll, jazz, pop, rap, hip-hop, and more have molded American culture and given rise to new American art forms emulated around the globe.”
Other performers for Tuesday’s event include Broadway Inspirational Voices, Colman Domingo, Maverick City Music, Nicco Annan, Patina Miller and “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band.