Celebrity worship is deadlier than the coronavirus.
No, seriously. It is. People will put themselves in financial distress trying to mimic a rapper who spends $200,000 on jewelry instead of following in the footsteps of proven financial gurus like Warren Buffett or Kevin O’Leary. When Peyton and Eli Manning started appearing in Oreo commercials, Oreo sales went up. Certain people will do or believe anything their favorite celebrity says.
So when music icon Pharrell Williams starts pushing the narrative that Juneteenth should be a national paid holiday or starts talking about canceling July 4th, his followers will blindly agree. What if Pharrell’s wishes became a reality?
Juneteenth being a national paid holiday sounds like a great idea, in theory. If Christopher Columbus, who did not a whole lot of nothing, can get his own day, then surely we can celebrate the day that slaves were officially emancipated. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? There are two potential issues.
First and foremost, Juneteenth becoming a national paid holiday solves nothing. The reason for all the protests, all of the social unrest, all of the politicians and corporations kowtowing to Blacks was to combat police brutality and systemic racism. If that truly is the case (the narrative has changed if you have been paying attention), employers giving its workforce holiday pay every June 19th is equivalent to putting an expensive outfit on a mannequin. Looks good, but it is all for show. Just one more in a long list of empty gestures.
Second, having one new holiday would not be enough for the radicalized “freedom fighters”. Juneteenth passing as a paid holiday would open the doors for other days getting unnecessary recognition. Petitions would be crafted to have October 16th, the day of The Million Man March, or February 12, the founding day of the NAACP, as holidays. Although they hold significance in the Black community, recognizing these days on a national level would water down the other Black holidays. Less is, and always will be, more.
Pharrell, in what seems to be a pitiful attempt to pander to his fans, has been calling for the “cancellation” of Independence Day. The most important day in the country’s history should be celebrated by all citizens. This is a country where Pharrell has been allowed to be as successful as he is. Blacks are not treated well in many nations around the world, and they certainly are not able to accumulate hundreds of millions in wealth. Many of the protesters fighting against oppression have the freedom to do so because they live in America. These sorts of demonstrations and rhetoric would be punished by jail time or even death in other countries. Do some research on China.
American history is Black history. You cannot tell the story of America without mentioning Blacks. Likewise, the story of Black Americans should include the entire life of Martin Luther King, Jr (not just his “I Have A Dream” speech), Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, but also slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, and Bloody Sunday. You cannot tell the good without the bad. When telling the story of Kobe Bryant, you have to mention his 5 championships, his 81-point game against Toronto, AND his sexual assault case. We have to be strong enough to stomach the entire tale, not just the parts that make you feel good, or coincide with your beliefs in the moment.
What good will a June 19th paid holiday do in the long run? What good will canceling the 4th of July really do? Not much. Let us hope that we will not have to live in a Pharrell Williams America.