Happy Juneteenth everybody! Today marks 154 years since the abolition of slavery in America and in commemoration Afriqua just dropped a really interesting track. With his new single, Afriqua sheds light on this overlooked holiday through a unique musical lens, one that is both global and personal. The single is experimental and fluid, resisting definition but still a complete vibe. As a Black artist living in Berlin, Parker seeks to challenge the idea that electronic music is a European phenomenon. As a Virginian, he contradicts the assumption that all Black electronic musicians hail from Detroit, Chicago, or New York. Northern Virginia has given the world a lot of great musicians from The Neptunes to Missy Elliot so it’s only right that this would also come from there.
For his release of “Jumpteenth,” Parker issued a personal statement about the track:
For the incredible significance which it holds, Juneteenth is a holiday that passes each year without much fanfare. You would imagine the streets overflowing with ecstatic song and dance, people in celebration of their freedom, unity, and evolution. But for most, it seems to be little more than a name on the calendar marking an event that we all wish was never necessary. African Americans may deem it unworthy of attention, being all too aware of the continued process of protecting our freedom. For the rest of society, its going unnoticed is largely attributable to simple ignorance, and, sadly but truly, downright animosity in some cases too. In spite of that, though, it seems to me that Juneteenth would easily assume its position as one of the most important days of the year were it to be openly acknowledged for what it really is; the beginning of modern American culture. It’s the real Independence Day. Too often Black history and culture are exploited when enjoyable and ignored when unpleasant, both at home and abroad. But whether consciously or not, the innumerable people worldwide who daily enjoy the endless cultural contributions of Black people will always be imbibing the unique energy of the Black experience, stemming from all of its interchangeably beautiful and tragic truths and contradictions. Juneteenth is an occasion to celebrate both the liberation of a specific people in a specific country, but also and more importantly the freedom, individualism, and creativity that exploded into the world at large as a result of it. It’s a celebration of our capacity for change, and should be a reminder of how much unexpected beauty can emerge from the better angels of our nature prevailing.