Pharrell Williams is working on a Juneteenth stage musical with Kenya Barris of 'Black-ish'
Barris and Williams will chiefly focus on the two African-American families, one lives in the present and the other in the Civil War era
Kenya Barris and Pharrell Williams are all set to take on the stage with their collaborative performance on a musical for Juneteenth. Variety reports that the celebration of Juneteenth is a common subject for Barris. The Season 4 premiere of the ABC series 'Black-ish' had an episode which focused on the 1865 version of the Johnsons, the family that is set at the center of the sitcom. Barris will also write the libretto with his 'Black-ish' colleague Peter Saji.
While for all Americans July 4, 1776, was the day the great nation attained independence, it is not really the story for the nation's large population of African-Americans. Juneteenth (June 19th) is seen by most as the second independence day.
The history behind Juneteenth is often considered to be an obscure one. Although President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, nearly most of the 250,000 black men who had to fight in the civil war, and the women and children who remained in bondage in the South, had absolutely no clue about their approaching freedom.
The word of freedom traveled rather slowly, as many believe that the officials held back the news of the proclamation for one last season of harvest. However, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston in Texas on June 19, 1865, with the news of the end of slavery, it was finally declared that the African-Americans were as much free as citizens as their white masters. it was the time when the last of the slaves were set free.
In honor of this significant day in the history of the great nation, several artists have come up with their respective pieces of art to commemorate this day. Jay-Z and Beyonce's new album 'Everything is Love' has a song 'Apes**t' in the video of which the much-excluded community takes upon themselves to claim their position in the heart of Western art, the Louvre.
Similarly, while no plot details have yet been shared, Barris and Williams will chiefly focus on the two African-American families, one lives in the present and the other in the Civil War era. The show looks forward to contributing a larger theme for Juneteenth to make it a matter of national importance.
The Vulture quoted Barris as saying, "For us, this project isn’t about numbers; it’s about humanity... Slavery is America’s recessive gene and it’s time we all dealt with it and what better way to have an audience swallow this dose of medicine than with amazing music and raw, honest, jaw-dropping comedy?”