Music Legends Grace South Lawn for Biden’s Juneteenth Celebration Amid Voting Rights Concerns


The lush expanse of the South Lawn of the White House came alive with the melodic tunes of music legends Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle, as President Joe Biden commenced an impassioned celebration of the Juneteenth holiday. In the balmy twilight of the Monday eve, Biden echoed the sentiments of unity, “Black history is American history.”

However, the festive occasion didn’t stop the Democratic president from addressing a deep-seated issue hampering the nation’s progress. He expressed grave concern over “old ghosts” clothed in contemporary attire. These euphemistically named specters, allusions to his Republican adversaries, were accused by the president of posing threats towards the freedom of Black Americans through active efforts to curtail their voting rights.

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The Juneteenth concert, a crucial event on the year’s political calendar, was set amidst the ramping up of the presidential election. Notably, the African American community forms a vote bank of considerable import. The gravity of this fact is underscored by the striking statistic that Biden was the choice of 91% of Black voters during the 2020 election, based on AP VoteCast data.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, the former president and the Republican frontrunner, is seemingly convincing more Black voters to switch their allegiance towards him. Though the African American populace has traditionally aligned with the Democrats, even slight shifts in their political loyalty or a decreased turnout in the swing states could greatly impact the outcome in November.

The star-studded Juneteenth concert wasn’t merely a celebration but a stage for political dynamics, boasting Roy Wood Jr. as emcee. The acclaimed comedian and actor took the audience on a trip down memory lane, highlighting the Biden administration’s policy initiatives like insulin price capping and student debt forgiving.

Noteworthy is the fact that it was only in 2021 that Biden penned the law marking Juneteenth as a federal holiday. The day, June 19, marks the momentous historical account from 1865 when the last shackles of slavery were broken down in the United States. The liberation came more than two years after then-president Abraham Lincoln inked the Emancipation Proclamation, signifying the liberation of slaves in the Confederate states amid the throes of the Civil War.

The anthem of liberation, Juneteenth, has been celebrated by generations of Black Americans as it marks the enforcement of slave emancipation in Texas through the Union’s victory ending the Civil War.

The star-studded event also witnessed performances by Raheem DeVaughn, Kirk Franklin, Doug E. Fresh, Anthony Hamilton, Patina Miller, Brittney Spencer, Trombone Shorty, and Charlie Wilson, which captured the audience’s breath. Vice President Kamala Harris brought life to the stage in the celebratory light as she shared the stage with Franklin, swaying to his gospel melodies.

Launched in the spirit of solidarity, Harris voiced that this year’s Juneteenth will bring about a national day of action on voting, powering participation in the electoral process and standing against voter suppression efforts.