Juneteenth - The Path Forward: Reflect, Recognize and Rejoice

This week, WarnerMedia would like to recognize the significance of Juneteenth. We should be reminded of our mission and core values as a human race —to have a purpose, to lead by example, to care, and to respect one another. These values are critical as we look to make societal reforms that lead to lasting change.

The June 19 holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Important conversations about race are still happening across our country, and Juneteenth provides us with another critical opportunity for reflection on the racial injustices that have faced Black Americans for centuries.

Let’s continue to educate ourselves and bring awareness to the significance of this day and its importance.  


What is Juneteenth? 

Juneteenth (a blending of the words June and nineteenth), also known as Emancipation Day, or Juneteenth Independence Day marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. Juneteenth will be celebrated on Saturday, June 19, 2021, and is observed annually on this date each year. 

What is the origin of Juneteenth? 

Juneteenth was originally celebrated in Texas, on June 19, 1866. It marked the first anniversary of the day that African Americans there first learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, more than two years after it was initially issued. The holiday was originally celebrated with prayer meetings and by singing spirituals and wearing new clothes to represent newfound freedom. Within a few years, African Americans were celebrating Juneteenth in other states, making it an annual tradition.

Is Juneteenth a national holiday?  

Yes! As of 2021, Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States.

How is Juneteenth celebrated? 

Juneteenth celebrations in the United States typically include prayer and religious services, speeches, educational events, family gatherings and picnics, and festivals with food, music, and dancing. The day is also celebrated outside the United States and is used to recognize the end of slavery as well as to celebrate African American culture and achievements.

Who is recognized as “The Godmother of Juneteenth”?

When she was 12 years old, a mob of 500 white supremacists set fire to and destroyed Opal Lee’s family’s home in their predominantly white neighborhood. Seventy-Seven years later, she became an icon. 

TCM celebrates Juneteenth with films about African American music and musicians, spanning from Gospel to Jazz to Rock, Soul and Hip Hop. Throughout the day, viewers will see extraordinary performances captured on film, many live and all dynamic.  TCM’s Juneteenth 2021 line-up will be a safe and celebratory place for families and communities to gather and enjoy films and conversations about the history and power of Black creativity.

Saturday, June 19

  • 12:00 PM ET - Say Amen, Somebody (1982)
  •  2:00 PM ET - Shake: Otis at Monterey (1987)
  •  2:30 PM ET - Jazz on a Summer's Day (1959)
  •  4:15 PM ET - Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)
  •  6:00 PM ET - Jimi Hendrix (1973)
  •  8:00 PM ET - Sparkle (1976)
  • 10:00 PM ET - Krush Groove (1985)

Adult Swim will be hosting a social takeover in collaboration with Open Mike Eagle leading into a two-hour on-air special featuring The Boondocks and Black Dynamite, also hosted by Open Mike Eagle.​

TBS’s “Friday Night Vibes” will kick off at 7:30pm ET on Friday, June 18. Host Tiffany Haddish, co-host Deon Cole and special guests discuss the history of Juneteenth, the celebration it is today, and what it means to them.

Also – don’t miss the Juneteenth Movie Marathon with Creed I, Creed II, Black Panther: Saturday, starting at noon ET on tbs.

Bleacher Report’s emB/Race is celebrating with the fam! So pull up!

On June 16 from 5 - 6:30 pm ET, all including TurnerSports, WarnerMedia, and HBO are welcome to join us and our friends from the University of Dope for the ultimate game of unpopular opinions focusing on hip hop and sports culture.

All can play, but we’re also looking for 16 contestants who will be on screen sharing their thoughts, feelings, and hot takes. If you’re open to this, please be sure to select that option on the RSVP page, here.

CNN will re-air DREAMLAND on CNN Saturday, June 19 at 9 pm ET and watch anytime on CNNgo.

CNN shares that the Senate unanimously passes a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

HBO Max is honoring Juneteenth with stories of love, joy, and perseverance. Black History is Our History.

HBO is hosting a Finding Your Voice themed marathon. It airs on Saturday, June 19 on HBO Main channel starting at 1:00 PM ET.

  • 1:00 PM ET - The Apollo (2019)
  • 2:45 PM ET - BEAH: A Black Woman Speaks (2003)
  • 4:15 PM ET - Black Art: In the Absence of Light (2021)
  • 5:41 PM ET - Black Boy Joy (2019)
  • 6:00 PM ET - Tina (2021)

Cartoon Network Celebrates Juneteenth with Three New Installments of its Drawn To Series

  • The first episode features Ms. Opal Lee, aka the Grandmother of Juneteenth, discussing her activism to make June 19 a national holiday.
  • The second piece focuses on Saniya, the first national Miss Juneteenth winner, and Jordan, who participates Miss Juneteenth “Princess” contests for younger kids.
  • The third installment features Julian, whose ancestor is Major General Gordon Granger, the man who read the proclamation in Galveston, Texas declaring that all slaves were free in the U.S. on the day which we now know as Juneteenth.

Internally, WarnerMedia and the business resource group, BE (Black Empowerment) will be hosting a series of programs for employees that align with this year’s theme for Juneteenth: The Path Forward. Virtual events include a workshop addressing racial trauma for Black & marginalized communities as well as a virtual watch party screening of various WarnerMedia programming.

In honor of Juneteenth, WarnerMedia hosted virtual volunteer opportunities and encouraged employees to participate in its Justice & Equity for Black People Challenge to better understand how systemic racism impacts the Black community and how to use your voice to stand up against racism and injustice.

Juneteenth Opportunities/External Resources