Juneteenth 2022 is here, and people all over the country are celebrating the holiday in their own way. Apple Music created a playlist honoring the celebrations titled Juneteenth 2022: Freedom Songs featuring artists such as Bun B, Denzel Curry, 6LACK and more performing new songs.
Lupe Fiasco, one of the artists featured on the playlist, sat with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 recently to talk about the playlist and his track “Galveston.” According to Lupe, recording the track was a bittersweet experience for him, given how much the song is a form of redemption as opposed to celebrating a holiday.
“For me, ‘Galveston’ is not a celebratory story. It’s a ghost story. It’s a warning to the past to we celebrate,” Lupe said. “It’s the funny part. I’m sure that they knew. I’m sure that my ancestors who were at the point of emancipation and felt that shock wave of them being considered or labeled as being free, quote unquote, by the federal government at that time were highly celebratory for a couple days. Emancipation proclamation, June 19th, 1865. Or at least when they found out in Galveston.”
He added, “But, then guess what else gets born in 1865? The Ku Klux Klan. When we get an opportunity to celebrate something or opportunity to overcome, they rip it from us. Martin Luther King Jr didn’t die from natural causes. He got shot. Malcolm X didn’t die from natural causes. He got shot. Even the people that we celebrated, make murals on, they would snatch from us in a way to bring us down.”
The Chicago rapper believes it’s unfortunate having to make songs about celebrating something with a dark story. However, it’s uplifting at the same time since the record is giving people “strength” and “power.”
Lupe also explained the importance of Juneteenth and how people, including Apple Music, should celebrate it in every way possible because it’s not just for Black people but everyone across the country. It’s a strong reminder that people can overcome anything in this world.
“And just to be clear, to the folks that are celebrating Juneteenth, celebrate it to the fullest,” he said. “Enjoy the playlist. Enjoy the music. Enjoy the festivities. Create your own festivities. Again, it’s a holiday that has been so undesigned for so long. Take the opportunity to design what Juneteenth means for you and how you choose to celebrate it for you and yours.”
He continued, “All are welcome. It’s not just a black holiday. It’s a people’s holiday. A reminder of overcoming some of the bullshit that’s in this world. And we’re going to do it with style. We’re going to do it with grace. We’re going to do it with flare. But, we’re going to do it with dignity and remembrance as well. Happy Juneteenth, everybody.”
Listen to the Juneteenth 2022: Freedom Songs playlist below.