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2015 Essence Music Festival - Day 3

Source: Erika Goldring / Getty

Usher Raymond performed at the Essence Music Festival and while we were poised and ready for every high note he hits in “Climax,” it was his outfit choice that intrigued us the most. Our favorite R&B hunk used his fashion to make a statement and we heard him loud and clear. As a headliner on Saturday night, Usher had everyone’s attention, especially when we read his shirt: July Fourth was crossed out and “Juneteenth” was neatly typed below. And the leather jacket he wore on top of the T-shirt with a political statement had, “Have we truly achieved our independence?” on the back.

MUST READ: In The Wake Of The Charleston Terror Attack, Juneteenth Matters More Than Ever

Check out Usher’s Bold Fashion Statement:

As we all know, July 4th is celebrated in America as Independence Day. However, June 19th aka Juneteenth is known as Freedom Day for Black people.

Even though former president Abraham Lincoln issued his famous Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, it didn’t go into effect until 1863 and many slaves in the Confederate States saw no change in their daily lives. On June 18, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Texas with federal troops in tow to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves. The very next day, June 19th, Granger read the contents of “General Order No. 3,” which stated:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

Usher’s bold fashion statement is definitely throwing shade at the “Land of the free and the home of the brave” and pouring the light of his star power over this lesser-known holiday. We’re down for the statement and the celebration. What do you beauties think?

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