The Essence Music Festival is annually one of our high points of the year. With so many players in black culture — and culture at large to be honest — converging in New Orleans for a weekend, it’s definitely a rich experience to be a part of. This year, Usher took his time in the spotlight to make a statement with a screen printed ‘Juneteenth’ t-shirt. You guys were clearly impressed as evidenced by the Instagram interaction when we first posted the look.
For those who don’t know: Juneteenth is a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. Celebrated on June 19th, some look at it with as much reverence in the black community as July 4th. Usher seems to be one of those people as his shirt depicts July 4th struck through and Juneteenth prominently beneath it. At a time with race, race politics and racial identity are at the forefront of the national conversation, this was certainly a #STAYWOKE moment.
That tee wasn’t the only symbol as the artist’s leather jacket questioned ‘Have we truly achieved our independence?” It’s an apt question considering that this is still a nation of burning black churches and police brutality.
The fits were designed by Kerby Jean-Raymond of the brand Pyer Moss. It wasn’t Raymond’s first political outing as this was the same designer who created the “They Have Names” tee that was an ode to people of color who had lost their lives to police brutality. We haven’t heard whether or not these pieces will go into production but will keep you updated.