The event commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States and aims to inform viewers about the federal holiday signed into law by President Biden last year.
Concert performers will include Chaka Khan, Khalid, Yolanda Adams, Jill Scott, Anthony Hamilton, Billy Porter, Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jhené Aiko, Killer Mike, Lucky Daye, Mary Mary, Ne-Yo, Michelle Williams, Mickey Guyton, Robert Glasper, The Roots and Bell Biv DeVoe. The Re-Collective Orchestra, a 68-piece all-Black symphony orchestra, will also perform.
What to expect
The show is produced by creators Shawn Gee of Live Nation Urban and Jesse Collins Entertainment. Gee spoke to CNN in an interview on Thursday and explained how the show came about.
“CNN and Live Nation did a big event called the ‘NYC Homecoming Concert’ and the relationship between the companies were formed at that event, and so CNN came back and said we want to do something around Juneteenth — big and bright and loud. Within Live Nation, Live Nation Urban is really the one that focuses on Black culture so when the call came to the company they pointed the CNN team to me and they said if you want to do something big you need to do it with Shawn.”
As for the location? “Similarly I got a call from the Hollywood Bowl the year before and we weren’t able to do it because of the short time frame but I was able to marry the two ideas.”
Gee said the show will be multifaceted.
“We chose a group of artists who represent diverse genres,” Gee explained. “It’s not just all music, there are narrative parts too. We are introducing different individuals who were central in this becoming a federal holiday. The third thing is we are going to make sure people know the fight isn’t over.”
If you tune in you’ll also see former first lady Michelle Obama will deliver special remarks. Celebrity presenters include Debbie Allen, Team USA gymnast Jordan Chiles, actors Michael Ealy, Gabourey Sidibe and Kendrick Sampson, comedians Leslie Jones and Lil Rel Howery, and stars from ABC’s “Black-ish” stars Deon Cole, Marsai Martin and Miles Brown.
How to watch
The evening kicks off with a pre-show hosted by CNN’s Don Lemon at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the concert at 8 p.m. ET. The event will air on CNN and will stream live for pay TV subscribers via CNN.com and CNNgo where available.