Pharrell and Kenya Barris to Collaborate on a Juneteenth Musical

Kenya Barris and Pharrell Williams will be teaming up to create an exciting new project! In an announcement fitting for the date (June 19), the creatives announced that they will be joining forces for a stage musical about Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the final day of slavery in the United States.

As Deadline reports, Barris will pen the libretto with Black-ish producer Peter Saji, while the Grammy-winning artist and partner Mimi Valdés (Dope, Roxanne Roxanne) will write and compose the music under Williams’ i am OTHER company.


“The acknowledgement and celebration of Juneteenth as an American and possibly international holiday is something that I would put in the life goals column for me,” Barris said in a statement per Deadline. “For Peter and me to be able to team up with Pharrell on such an important project like this is something that neither of us in a billion years would have thought possible.”

“For us, this project isn’t about numbers; it’s about humanity,” the Black-ish creator continued. “Slavery is America’s recessive gene and it’s time we all dealt with it and what better way to have an audience swallow this dose of medicine than with amazing music and raw, honest, jaw dropping comedy?”

This is not the first time Barris has touched on Juneteenth before. Last year, Black-ish covered the Juneteenth holiday with an episode of the same name. The episode became an instant classic and not long after the airing, the date is now recognized on Apple’s iCalendar and is gaining momentum to make it a national holiday.

“I dream about projects like this. Kenya and Peter are geniuses and Juneteenth will change culture and change history.” Pharrell said about the forthcoming musical. “We couldn’t sign up fast enough. We are thrilled to collaborate with them.”

According to Deadline, the plot for the project have not been disclosed – however, it is expected to focus on two different African American families, one in present times and the over during the Civil War era.

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