We must protect Juneteenth from cultural appropriation pimps

Nothing is sacred to black people in America. Not our music, our bodies, our food or our hairstyles. And now here come people trying to whitewash our holiday, June 16.

Twitter wasted no time circulating a flyer for the Juneteenth Soul Food Festival and Market with the photos of star hosts, Rex Nelson, Heather Baker and David Bazzel boldly printed on it. And by the way, Rex, Heather and David are all white and chances are none of their ancestors were freed from slavery on June 19, 1866.

Listed as one of the event’s revenue recipients, The Urban League of Arkansas quickly distances himself from the controversy.

In a statement on their Facebook page, the organization’s CEO said: “Please read – the Arkansas State Urban League is and has not been involved in any aspect of this program. We are concerned about the appearance of participation without our approval. It is unfortunate that some did not recognize the optics and the absolute need to engage before this was developed.

And to make matters worse, the event was hosted by a black man, a former Razorbacks and Arkansas Treasure football player, Muskie Harris. Why would he think that was a good idea? This movement probably just got its Black card revoked.

Protect Juneteenth at all costs

Immediately, many wondered why black people weren’t the faces of this event.

In an interview, one of the animators, Rex Nelson, saidWe are also fortunate in Arkansas to have respected black leaders as mayors of some of our largest cities such as Little Rock, Fort Smith and Pine Bluff. And let’s not forget the historians who have worked hard over the past two decades to educate Arkansans about the state’s sad history of anti-Black violence.

In this fortune of having an abundance of respected black leaders in Little Rock, why didn’t Mr. Harris or Mr. Nelson invite any of them to host?

Black family, we’re not even a year away June 16 is officially recognized as a national holiday and must already recover our time. And even though the flyer was leaked and the event was canceled after public outrage, this matter definitely needs to be brought to the forum by the black delegation because. We can be sure that there will be future infractions from habitual and cultural pimps and appropriation pimps –as we have unfortunately seen with Cinco de Mayo.

As someone who resents the idea of ​​our ancestors being brutalized and our history being erased with half-assed acknowledgment from our country that these things even happened, I am extremely protective of this holiday and its symbolism of freedom and justice for black people.

And I hope that the next time someone tries to organize an event around our emancipation represented by white people, they will encounter a force of opposition and resistance from brothers, sisters and co-conspirators who want protect Juneteenth and our history like me.

James C. Tibbs