Black People Don’t Want To Commercialize Juneteenth

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@CriticalBard and Brenna Weeks.

On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed the bill that made Juneteenth a federal holiday; Black users all over Twitter are afraid that corporations will commercialize the day that celebrates the emancipation of more than 250,000 enslaved African Americans in Texas.

This commercialization, which involves sales or promotions, would detract from Juneteenth’s significance of “black freedom and pride”. Juneteenth was born on June 19, 1865, when Union troops enforced Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in Texas–almost two and a half years after its release on January 1, 1863.

Although Juneteenth was mainly celebrated by Black Texans from its birth in 1865 to its revivals in the 1980s (when it became a Texas state holiday) and 1990s, the racial-justice protests and Black Lives Matter movement of summer 2020 have populated it among White Americans for the first time.

Many are still unaware of Juneteenth and its significance, however. This and the capitalist nature of corporate America have contributed to fears that Juneteenth will be commercialized.


Although federal employees and some private workers have the day off, most Americans don’t. Many are still celebrating, but warn against diminishing the day to “just barbecuing and getting off work”. People suggest supporting black-owned businesses instead of buying Juneteenth merchandise.

One user claimed that “sales for Juneteenth” were “flagrant AF”, even for a black-owned business.

Another user noted one problem with making Juneteenth a federal holiday: doing so “shifted [it] from an intracommunity observance to something widely benefitting non-Black people”.


As Daily Dot aptly pointed out, celebrating Juneteenth as a federal holiday will be performative for most people.

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