Pharrell Williams Criticises 4th of July For Lacking Inclusivity And Calls For Juneteenth To Become A Paid Holiday

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Pharrell Williams Criticizes 4th of July For Lacking Inclusivity And Calls For Juneteenth To Become A Paid Holiday

While appearing on CNBC, music artist Pharrell Williams, has called for employers to give all employees June 19th off each year as a paid holiday in celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States.


June 19th, known as Juneteenth, marks the day in 1865 when the last slaves in the US were declared free. It has risen in popularity in recent years and gained much more national and international attention due to the protests that have swept America over the last month. He told host David Faber:


"As Americans we love, and we appreciate Independence Day, but when July 4, 1776, took place, the only ones that were free from the British monarchy were our white brothers. The white sisters could not vote nor could the Native Americans where we get this land from. They were not free and certainly the African-Americans, women, and men, we didn't have our freedom either. In fact, if everyone that is listening at home or watching at home just imagined a day or what it feels like to wake up in a world where you don't own the land, the air, you don't own anything everything comes from the express permission of your white brothers some of them."


He then stated:


"So why not make that a paid holiday? We deserve that, you know?"


He was very clear however to make sure that people realised that this was not taking anything away from US Independence Day. He added:
"I think the first thing we should do is really, you know, we don't want to take away the Independence Day that we have, we just also want a day that is inclusive of everyone. So the action points here, talking to corporations and legislatures, and leaders around the world [are] making Juneteenth a paid holiday for employees in the United States. Then we would like a day to recognize the emancipation of enslaved people."


While Pharrell did make reference to 'reparations', he did not cite that he was either in favour or not in favour of more widespread reparations for African-Americans. The call for reparations is made by some who believe that the descendants of African-Americans, and other groups of people such as Native Americans, should receive financial or some other form of compensation. While no one alive today was either a slave or owned slaves it is clear that the disparity and inequity inflicted by both slavery and persistent racism has strongly impacted down the generations and affected the life chances of different social and racial groups.


While many are sympathetic to the idea of some form of redistributive justice, others believe that such a program would make it incredibly difficult to determine who should and who should not receive compensation. Others have also cited the unfairness of people in modern times paying for crimes of their ancestors, particularly when the vast majority of white people in the US never owned slaves and a huge proportion of the population of all races arrived as immigrants well after slavery had been abolished.


However, the idea of a paid holiday for all employees to celebrate the end of slavery is surely a wonderful idea that all sensible folk of all backgrounds can get around.

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Thinking Humanity: Pharrell Williams Criticises 4th of July For Lacking Inclusivity And Calls For Juneteenth To Become A Paid Holiday
Pharrell Williams Criticises 4th of July For Lacking Inclusivity And Calls For Juneteenth To Become A Paid Holiday
While appearing on CNBC, music artist Pharrell Williams, has called for employers to give all employees June 19th off each year as a paid holiday in celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States. June 19th, known as Juneteenth, marks the day in 1865 when the last slaves in the US were declared free. It has risen in popularity in recent years and gained much more national and international attention due to the protests that have swept America over the last month.
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