Pharrell Williams Asks Companies to Pledge to Make Juneteenth a Paid Holiday

Making more than just music history in his home state of Virginia

Ten days ago Pharrell Williams dropped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! where he spoke about his recent trip to his home state of Virginia to advocate for some change. "I just think it's high time that if we're gonna think about independence and what freedom really looks like, ours was never really acknowledged," Pharrell said. "I mean, yeah, there's 47 states that observe [Juneteenth] but man, it's not a paid holiday. We deserve a paid holiday.”

Pharrell shed light how the ongoing wave of Black Lives Matter protests inspired him to reach out to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam about making Juneteenth a paid holiday. "I called him and I just said, 'Man, I just feel like this is important - not only for 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.’ 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 over 401 years ago. So for me, this was incredibly symbolic and it's necessary."

Pharrell made good on his promise and spoke at a press conference in which Governor of Northam announced he will propose legislation to make Juneteenth a paid state holiday.

If passed, Virginia would be the second state to make Juneteenth a paid holiday. following in the footsteps of Texas. Williams spent the day prior to June 19th calling on other states to follow suit. Tweeting directly at governors across the U.S., in alphabetical order, he asked them to join Virginia and New York in officially making Juneteenth a paid day off in every state.

Today, he took to Twitter once more to continue his work in making Juneteenth an official paid holiday across the nation. This time speaking directly to companies and their CEOs, calling on them to “COMMIT & SIGN the #JUNETEENTHPLEDGE today.”

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