Pharrell Williams Explains Why the Recognition of Juneteenth as Paid Holiday Is Important for Him

During an appearance on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!', the 'Happy' hitmaker opens up about his recent appearance beside Virginia Governor Ralph Northam at a press conference.

AceShowbiz - Pharrell Williams has stepped up his quest to have Juneteenth recognised as a paid holiday across the U.S.

Earlier this week (begins June 15), Williams appeared alongside Virginia Governor Ralph Northam at a press conference in support of making 19 June - or Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery - a holiday in his native Virginia.

Appearing on Friday night's instalment of "Jimmy Kimmel Live!", the "Happy" hitmaker insisted: "It's high time that if we're gonna think about what independence and what freedom really looks like.... Ours was never really acknowledged."

"There's 47 states that observe (Juneteenth) but man, it's not a paid holiday. We deserve a paid holiday," he explained. "So I called (Northam) and I just said, 'Man, I just feel like this is important for not only your own legacy but for the legacy of Virginia. And if you would be willing to officiate this and make this a paid holiday, I will travel for the first time out of my house (due to Covid-19)'."

Pharrell added: "Because this is for not only me, but this is for my ancestors that absolutely came through on the hull of a ship in Virginia 400 years ago, over 401 years ago. So for me, this was incredibly symbolic and it's necessary."

Williams noted that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has already signed an executive order making Juneteenth a holiday, and on the day itself, the N.E.R.D singer turned to social media and asked governors of their respective states to make 19 June a paid holiday.

"If you really care about your fellow Americans, this is a holiday that you should support," Williams penned. "You should be reaching out to your local governors and telling them how important this is for you."

"The corporations are all doing it, they all understand. It's not a red or a blue thing, it's an American thing. And it's for us, it is for your black brothers and sisters."

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