Halle Berry, Lupita Nyong'o & More Celebs Celebrate Juneteenth 2021
By Liz Calvario
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Celebrities and public figures are taking a moment to celebrate Juneteenth.
This holiday was named for, and is celebrated on, June 19 to commemorate the true ending of slavery in the United States. Earlier this week, days before this year's celebration, the House passed legislation after an unanimous vote and President Joe Biden signed a bill into law recognizing Juneteenth as an official federal holiday.
Lupita Nyong'o also posted a photo of educator and social activist Opal Lee, known as the Grandmother of Juneteenth, on her Instagram.
"We owe deep respect to Ms. Opal Lee whose unwavering commitment is surely responsible for the Senate (finally!) passing a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday this week," the actress wrote in part. "I hope you’ll join me in thanking @TheRealOpalLee for her inspiring accomplishment, let alone at 94 years of age!"
Oprah Winfrey, Kerry Washington and Michelle Obama also paid tribute in their own special way.
"I love that Juneteenth is now an official federal holiday. A time to honor our past and those who’ve forged a path to our present. Which is why I’m excited to present #LiftEveryVoice, a collection of powerful interviews with a highly regarded older generation of Black Americans," Winfrey wrote. "Their experiences and wisdom can lead us to a better future if we’re open to receive it. What makes their stories even more poignant, is that young Black journalists and photographers captured their words and images in a spectrum of Black excellence."
Their experiences and wisdom can lead us to a better future if we’re open to receive it. What makes their stories even more poignant, is that young Black journalists and photographers captured their words and images in a spectrum of Black excellence.
Let's celebrate #Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday by recognizing the generations of enslaved Black people who fought so hard for their freedom. One of the best ways to do that is by fortifying our sacred right to vote. https://t.co/OoT5OJvRCm
Now that Juneteenth is a federal holiday, take a minute to learn about Opal Lee—the woman who did more than anyone to make it happen. Let’s follow her lead and try to leave our grandkids a better world than the one we came up in. https://t.co/r2NhXQxd60
Today we celebrate #Juneteenth and Black independence in America. I am filled with hope for a brighter future and look forward to the celebration of Juneteenth as a national holiday. https://t.co/pJexuhZOSM
Today is about our resilience, our joy, our liberation. I'm proud to join @NAACP_LDF in celebrating the strength & beauty that runs through our community. Though there is much more work to be done, we celebrate the freedom we have from those who came before us. Happy #Juneteenth! pic.twitter.com/lH5vSa8Snb
Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, abolishing slavery declaring all slaves in the Confederate states to be free. Yet on June 19th, 1865 the news finally reached made it to Galveston, Texas. I’ve celebrated #Juneteenth my whole life. For my ancestors🙏🏾@NAACPpic.twitter.com/0nszVUFBMl
"Emancipation: free 2 do what I wanna Emancipation: see U in the purple rain Emancipation: free 2 do what I wanna Emancipation: break the chain, break the chain" —Prince, "Emancipation"#Juneteenthhttps://t.co/qdVA9oK5G4
#Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom for Black Americans, commemorated by millions around our nation for 156 years. This day marks a milestone in the abolition of slavery, followed by complete abolition w/ the ratification of the 13th Amendment 6 months later on December 6th.
ET's Kevin Frazier recently spoke with Winfrey about what Juneteenth means to her, to which she replied, "It means freedom, it means liberation in the true sense, it means prayers answered, it means hope, it means the ability to move forward, it means life choices, it means god given rights. That's what it means."
She added that the holiday is a reminder to reflect on where she's come from, what she's achieved and overcome. "
"If they could survive that -- being enslaved and coming out of the enslavement and creating a life and not losing your mind and still being able to love and build families -- if they could do that then there is nothing, nothing we cannot do," she stressed. "That is what it means to me. It is a reminder [to] look how far you've come and there's nothing you cannot do."