This Saturday is Juneteenth, a holiday that marks the end of slavery and is recoginized by many African-Americans as their independence day in the United States.
Although it has been celebrated in some communities for years, it’s exciting to see Juneteenth rise up throughout the country. In recent years, a number of local and national organizations have helped this holiday gain prominence.
The country continues to experience what one might label The Great Reflection, finally attempting to take personal stock in and responsibility for the nation’s ills while cultivating knowledge and appreciation of African-American history, which is ultimately American history.
Relatedly, In The Heights is in theaters now. It’s the best movie I’ve seen in a long time and I understand why they held off on releasing it until Covid let up. The visuals and dance numbers, all filmed in Washington Heights, are electric! The vibe is a full-on summer celebration of being outside in New York City. It would have been difficult to capture that feeling last summer or over the winter. This needs to be enjoyed on the silver screen.
The film tells a classic tale of the American Dream but from a refreshing perspective. As with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s other smash, Hamilton, it’s extremely exciting to see the diversity of actors who are now bringing American stories to the masses.
**I do want to acknowledge the conversation around colorism in the casting. This is an important issue. Still, it is wonderful to see so many Latinx friends and colleagues feel seen. We are seeing growth and progress, albeit slowly, every day.
In The Heights and the emergence of Juneteenth are both cultural events that orgs, institutions, artists, promoters, and brand marketers have helped make happen and must continue to learn from. This is the kind of positive feedback loop we need. Let’s all continue to take as much time as possible to reflect and unify.
Also published on Medium.