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Beyoncé Celebrates Juneteenth With "BLACK PARADE" & Epic Black-Owned Businesses Directory
Late on Fri., June 19 a.k.a. Juneteenth, Beyoncé sent waves of positivity across the world with the surprise drop of new song, "BLACK PARADE," along with a beautiful new page of her website highlighting Black-owned businesses. In addition to the amazing resource, proceeds from the powerful track will benefit go to the 24-time GRAMMY-winner's BeyGOOD's Black Business Impact Fund, which supports Black-owned small businesses.
"I hope we continue to share joy and celebrate each other, even in the midst of struggle. Please continue to remember our beauty, strength and power," she wrote on Instagram. "'BLACK PARADE' celebrates you, your voice and your joy and will benefit Black-owned small businesses."
The database, entitled the BLACK PARADE ROUTE, showcases Black-owned businesses and can be filtered by categories including Arts & Design, Restaurants & Bars, Beauty, Fashion and more. It's curated by Queen Bey's stylist Zerina Akers, who is accepting applications to be added here.
"Happy Juneteenth. Being Black is your activism. Black excellence is a form of protest. Black joy is your right," the opening message on the database reads. Since its Friday evening launch, many of those included on the site shared messages of gratitude to Bey and Akers.
"S/O to @jesuisjeniece for sending me this, I am in shock! Wow thank you B," N.Y.C.-based fine artist Megan Gabrielle wrote on Instagram. "Wow. I am speechless & beyond honored. Thank you @beyonce," fashion designer Carlton Yaito echoed.
"I'm fully hyperventilating right now," Atlanta visual artist Osaze Akil wrote on Twitter. In the comments he added, "I'm so honored and grateful to be recognized on such a platform. So so so grateful. Thank you to everyone who's ever put my name out there, and supported me. My work is being seen."
Los Angeles restaurant and coffee shop Hilltop, which has been featured in Issa Rae's "Insecure," was included as well. "Black Parade Route. Wow. What a time to be alive Big thanks to @beyonce for using her platform to share so many amazing black owned businesses and @zerinaakers for curating this amazing list. We are honored to be included," they wrote.
With the song, Beyoncé's message of Black excellence and uplifting her melanated brothers and sisters is also clear. As Complex states, "Beyoncé is unapologetically Black on this track… [her] discography has always been an expression of Black culture, but fans really started to see her step into her own voice and explore the Black experience in more depth on 2016's critically-acclaimed album, Lemonade."
"Ooh, goin' up, goin' up / motherland, motherland drip on me. / Ooh, melanin, melanin, my drip is skin deep," Queen Bey sings. "Motherland, motherland drip on me. / Ooh, yeah, I can't forget my history is her-story. Being Black, maybe that's the reason why / they always mad, yeah, they always mad."
She also shouts out fellow Black leaders of past and present throughout the track. In the following lines, she nods to soul icon Curtis Mayfield, slain civil rights activists Malcom X and Martin Luther King, Jr., along with her mother Tina Knowles and Black Lives Matter and Women's March activist Tamika Mallory.
"Black love, we gon' stay together / Curtis Mayfield on the speaker. / Lil' Malcolm, Martin mixed with momma Tina. / Need another march, lemme call Tamika. / Need peace and reparation for my people."
"BLACK PARADE" is Beyoncé's first new music since July 2019's Lion King: The Gift album, which she executive produced and contributed to as part of her lead role in the Lion King remake. Back in April, Queen Bey hopped on Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage Remix" to raise money for COVID-19 relief in their hometown of Houston.