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Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ honors Juneteenth with a stark reality check

The Juneteenth recognitions keep rolling in.

The Late Show‘s house band Stay Human came together to reflect on Juneteenth, which marks the true end of slavery on June 19, 1865, and discuss their Juneteenth-inspired song playlist with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Mos Def, Nina Simone, and Kendrick Lamar.

Like many of us, bandmate Louis Cato didn’t learn about Juneteenth until after George Floyd’s murder. 

“Honestly, I felt a bit robbed. We have our holiday celebrating our emancipation and in 12 years of public education, no one said a word about this,” says Cato.

And while Jon Lampley, another Stay Human member, heard elders in his church wish one another “Happy Juneteenth” while growing up, he didn’t deeply explore the event until later.

“…it was really interesting for me to discover the history of it being equal parts celebrating the freedom of Black people but also reflecting on the idea that a group of Black people did not find out they were free until two  and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation,” says Lampley. “While there’s time for celebration, there’s a lot to think about…”



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