A Juneteenth movie musical is in the works at Netflix from producers Kenya Barris and Pharrell Williams.
Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Celebrated on June 19, it marks the day in 1865 when General Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that slaves were now free. The holiday was first celebrated in Austin in 1867, and has taken on an even deeper meaning this year amid the Black Lives Matter protests across America and the world.
The film is still in its very earliest stages of development, so there’s not even a plot to report yet. Deadline did however make it very clear that this is a new project, and no relation to the live musical Barris and Williams announced back in 2018.
Barris has frequently lobbied for Juneteenth to be declared an American national holiday, having used the Season 4 premiere of his show Black-ish to bring more attention to the important date. Barris called it one of the most meaningful things he has ever worked on.
Williams recently returned to his home state of Virginia, where he joined Governor Ralph Northam in announcing that Juneteenth will be recognised as a paid state holiday for the first time in state history.
We’ll wait for more news regarding the movie musical. Williams has previously composed music for films such as Despicable Me and Hidden Figures, while Barris has become a major name in TV thanks to the aforementioned Black-ish and his new Netflix show #blackAF.
The two collaborating on not only a musical, but one celebrating a historically important date, should be a recipe for success.