Juneteenth is a significant holiday for Black Americans. It’s a time to celebrate freedom and reflect on the struggles and sacrifices of their ancestors. It is a powerful reminder of Black culture, history, and resilience in the face of adversity.

Black communities come together to celebrate Juneteenth through various cultural activities, including community events, parades, and especially music, which has played a vital role in Black liberation throughout history. Enslaved Africans historically used music as a tool for communication and resistance, while hip-hop continues today to shed light on the struggles and injustices faced by marginalized communities.

Music allows Black people to reach beyond the confinement of their oppression and encourages us all to dream big. Hip-hop has often been used as a form of expression for those fighting for freedom and equality. The genre has been used to shed light on the struggles and injustices faced by marginalized communities. Hip-hop artists have contributed to the ongoing fight for freedom and equal rights by using their platform to raise awareness and spark conversation. Kendrick Lamar’s release of “Alright,” for example, echoed the political climate and motivated many to persevere in their pursuit of justice.  

Music has always provided a soundtrack to liberation, and its impact on mental health is wonderous. The right combination of sunlight and Stevie Wonder will put almost anybody in a better mood. In honor of Juneteenth, I have been listening to a lot of songs that celebrate freedom. In the late 1970s, Bob Marley wrote “Redemption Song.” In the song, Marley sings;  

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.
None but ourselves can free our minds.” 

I Interpret these lyrics as a call to action for those navigating the intersection of mental health and the Black experience. It can be all too easy to become trapped in our own negative thoughts and emotions, but it’s important to remember that we have the power to combat them with resources around us and within us, such as therapy, exercise, and, of course, music. We need to be there for one another in the ongoing struggle for mental freedom, but we also need to make sure we’re looking out for ourselves along the way. Ultimately, true liberation comes from within.

About the Author: William Patterson IV is a human services professional focusing on health and wellness advocacy and a lover of Black culture and music.