“I want you to know that it’s mind-boggling to think that we actually have a holiday,” she said.
Juneteenth — that is, June 19 — commemorates the end of slavery in the US. Lee said Americans should spend the holiday celebrating, learning and continuing to learn and grow.
“I advocate that we celebrate from the 19th of June to the 4th of July,” she said. “That would be celebrating freedom.”
Also appearing at the event are President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, former first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Scott, who will perform spoken word.
The entire creative team behind the concert is Black, CNN’s Sara Sidner reported ahead of the event, including creator Shawn Gee of Live Nation Urban and Jesse Collins Entertainment. The night also marks the first time an all-Black orchestra, Re-Collective Orchestra, will play the Hollywood Bowl, Sidner said.
This is the second year the US has recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday, but many Black Americans have honored the date for years with parades, parties and family gatherings. The holiday is also an opportunity to reflect on the persisting systemic inequalities that Black Americans face.
CNN’s Harmeet Kaur and Chloe Melas contributed to this report.