On June 17, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, making June 19 a federal holiday. Today’s video spotlight commemorates and celebrates Juneteenth. Music and social justice artists Fyütch and Alphabet Rockers have teamed up to set the historical record straight on the emancipation of slaves in the United States. Working with African American historian and scholar Dr. Sherri Arnold Mehta, they created “Juneteenth,” an anthem that honors the soldiers and families who strategized and worked for the freedom of all. This song is based in Dr. Mehta’s research which focuses on letters written by Black men who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT) during the Civil War. Dr. Mehta is the descendant of two ancestors who served in the USCT. Her ancestor Jefferson Michie, who was present in Galveston, TX on June 19, 1865 for the reading of General Order No. 3, is on the cover art (above) of this song. Do you know the story of Juneteenth? Watch the video for “Juneteenth” below to learn more.
It’s been quite the year for students across the nation. Throughout the myriad of challenges – remote learning, hybrid learning, in-person learning, in school all day with very little movement from the classroom, wearing masks all day, not seeing friends, not seeing loved ones – our kids have shown an amazing amount of resiliency. Not only did they adapt, but with all that was going on, they still managed to participate, learn, and have some fun while “in school.” I’m in awe of the kids I see everyday. Yes, many have struggled, but many have also found ways to thrive and they are coming back stronger than ever before because they saw things this year. They experienced things this year. They hurt and they found joy. But most importantly, they made it. From the preschooler to the high school senior, it’s time to celebrate all those kids (and the families behind them!) who reached that life milestone of graduation.
Let’s start things off with “Ace It” from SaulPaul‘s recently released album OK to Be Different. “Ace It” recognizes the challenges that students face both at school and at home, as well as the reward when all that hard work pays off with graduation. One of my favorite phrases is “Life is a test…Ace It. Show up. Show out. Shine. Repeat.”
With graduation season having already started in some places, but running through the middle of June in others, let’s cap things off with a dance party from Fyütch with SaulPaul. “Graduation Bop” will have students moving and grooving across the stage to lyrics filled with praise. “You did it, you’re moving on up. Today we’re celebrating, we gon’ turn it up. You made it. What an accomplishment. Put on your cap and gown and get ready. It’s your graduation.” Congratulations to ALL of the 2021 graduates. This was a year for the books and as the song says, “you made it.” Celebrate!
Fyütch is an incredible one-of-a-kind performer. He’s the master of the theme song remix, a social justice artist, an entertainer who combines music and visuals in new, inclusive ways (ASL plus a slow jam = awesome!) and family music performer. Last fall he debuted the fantastic “Indigenous Peoples Day Song for Kids” and just two weeks ago premiered his newest family music offering – “Black Women in History” which features Rissi Palmer and Snooknuk.
One of the things that elevates the song and video “Black Women in History” is that rather than focus on women that we are all familiar with, Fyütch instead chooses to weave lesser known, but equally important, historical figures like Fannie Lou Hamer, Juno Frankie Pierce, and Claudette Colvin into the song’s narrative. Not only does Fyütch weave them in, but he draws a line through history showing how the groundbreakers paved the way for today’s amazing women. A great example of this is highlighting Rebecca Crumpler, the first Black woman with a medical degree followed by the first Black, female veterinarians and ending with Dr. Kizzy who helped create the COVID-19 vaccine. Photographs of each woman mentioned in the song appear throughout the video. The lyrics are displayed on the screen in an easy to read manner that adds to the depth of the song by ensuring that listeners don’t miss a single thing. Enjoy this tour through history then ask your local library to help you find more information about these awe-inspiring women!