musicals

Happy Juneteenth! Pharrell and Kenya Barris Are Turning This Historic Day Into a Musical

Pharrell.

Juneteenth, African-American Independence Day (it’s today! Google it!), is still not a federally recognized holiday, but it’ll soon be a national celebration for musical theater. Pharrell Williams and Black-ish creator Kenya Barris have announced that they are collaborating on a stage musical about Juneteenth to commemorate the true abolition of slavery in the U.S. Barris will write the story with Black-ish producer Peter Saj; Pharrell will handle the music; all three will chase a Tony. Few specifics are known about how, exactly, they’ll translate Juneteenth into a musical (though we’re thinking Hamilton), but they’ve said it will center on two African-American families, with one story set in the present and the other during the Civil War.

Barris previously made an episode of Black-ish about Juneteenth, as did Atlanta. Both Pharrell and Barris say that the intent with this latest project is to spotlight Juneteenth in such a way that it becomes a national holiday, potentially even international. “For us, this project isn’t about numbers; it’s about humanity,” Barris said in statement. “Slavery is America’s recessive gene and it’s time we all dealt with it and what better way to have an audience swallow this dose of medicine than with amazing music and raw, honest, jaw-dropping comedy?”

Pharrell and Kenya Barris Are Making a Juneteenth Musical