Pharell supported Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in a press conference Tuesday afternoon to declare Juneteenth a state holiday.
Pharrell spoke on what June 19th meant to him as a Black man and urged other states to follow suit. “This is our chance to lead, to truly embrace the importance of Juneteenth and treat it as a celebration of freedom that black people deserve,” he said. “This is about proper recognition, it’s about observation, and it’s about celebration. This is a chance for our government, our corporations, and our citizens to all stand in solidarity with their African American brothers and sisters.”
The call to observe Juneteenth as a federal holiday has been growing amid weeks of ongoing protests against police brutality.
Although Virginia legislators have to sign a bill to make it an official holiday, state employees will have a paid day off in observation of the holiday.
“From this moment on, when you look at the vastness of the night sky, and you see those stars moving up there, know that those stars are our African ancestors dancing,” Pharrell said. “They’re dancing in celebration because their lives are finally being acknowledged.”