Many of us didn’t learn about Juneteenth in school. For some of us and "other" folks, we didn’t learn about the importance of the day until 2019.

Juneteenth is a portmanteau of the words June and nineteen. The moniker refers to the date June 19, 1865, the day that enslaved Black folks in Texas learnt that slavery in the U.S. was abolished—which was two and a half years after African Americans in this country were actually emancipated!

Last year, President Joe Biden signed a bill into law that officially declared Juneteenth a national holiday. Con­gres­sional lead­ers from both par­ties said that es­tab­lish­ing the hol­i­day was an im­por­tant ges­ture in rec­og­niz­ing those who suf­fered un­der Amer­i­can slav­ery and as an act of racial rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

Juneteenth means many things to different folks, so we’ve asked fashion industry insiders what the holiday means to them. Check out their responses below.

Brandon Blackwood, Founder of Brandon Blackwood

Image: courtesy of Brandon Blackwood

"Juneteenth to me is an ode to the continued development of our community and those who have come before. It is a dedicated day where we can boldly celebrate ourselves, our culture, and our wins."

J. Alexander Martin, Keith Perrin, and Daymond John, Founders of FUBU

Image: courtesy of Fubu

“On this day we celebrate us, not the why us and the pain and suffering but the for us which is the coming together as one to fight oppression, marginalization, & racism. The only way we can truly be an us is if we are For Us By Us.” —J. Alexander Martin

“For me, it celebrates true freedom 2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was supposed to free us. It celebrates our culture and resilience to survive and prosper.” Keith Perrin

”A proud moment is what Juneteenth means for All America; it means progress. A step in the right direction. Happy Juneteenth!”Daymond John

James Flemons, Founder of Phlemuns

Image: courtesy of James Flemons

"Black joy. Black freedom. Black excellence. I kind of miss when it was just a celebration known to the Black community and not something to seep into capitalist society, but I’m down for any kind of celebration of blackness outside of the short month of December and the explosion of "performativeness" we saw in the summer of 2020."

Kingsley Gbadegesin, Founder of K.NGSLEY

Image: courtesy of Kingsley Gbadegesin

"Juneteenth means FREEDOM. The total freedom to exist as a being. Although this country may not have us believe that, it serves as a reminder of the importance of Black life and the tenacious spirit we carry no matter where or what we find ourselves in" 

Jameel Mohammed, Founder of Khiry

Image: courtesy of Khiry

“Juneteenth is an opportunity to reflect on the extensive legacy that Black people have in this country, as well as the centrality of our tireless effort to realize a better life for ourselves and our countrymen. We have always been at the center of liberatory efforts that not only sought to bring us into full democratic participation, but to push the nation into being the democracy we have always believed it could be.”

Bernard James, Founder of Bernard James

Image: courtesy of Bernard James

"Juneteenth is not only a celebration of our history and a recognition of a separate fight we have had as Black people in America, but it is also a moment to uninhibitedly enjoy the fellowship of other members of our community."

Larissa Muehleder, Founder of Muehleder

Image: courtesy of Larissa Muehleder

"Juneteenth is a day for us to acknowledge how far we’ve come as Black people and to remind our counterparts that although there are many advancements, there is still a disproportionate lack of resources due to an unequal starting ground. It’s a day to celebrate our rights and freedoms while pushing for more advancements and opportunities for black people and the communities we come from."

Taylor Dixon, Founder of Sunni Sunni

Image: courtesy of Taylor Dixon

“To my NY/DC community and friends, Juneteenth is a day for us to celebrate ourselves as a collective. We come from different backgrounds, lifestyles and industries, but the common thread on this day is being black af and celebrating the pride and power that comes with it. “

Alexander-Julian (AJ) Gibbson, Fashion/Travel Editor

Image: courtesy of Alexander Julian

"Juneteenth to me is an opportunity to celebrate with other Black people just being Black. Many of our gatherings and energy is spent combating the social injustices we face on a daily basis, so I'm happy to have Juneteenth as an opportunity to be Black and carefree for at least one weekend."

Antoine Gregory, Founder of Black Fashion Fair

Image: courtesy of Antoine Gregory

"I think what’s been most inspiring to me about Juneteenth is the celebration of Black futures. It is the celebration of the now—where we are and how far we have come. Juneteenth is about the tomorrow’s our ancestors never thought they would have."

Terry Long, Publicist

Image: courtesy of Terry Long

"Juneteenth is a day that we should take time to reflect on how far we, as a community, have come. A day to recognize that we are truly the pioneers of this country."

Tira Audrey, Digital Style Director and Founder of Walk Like Her

Image: courtesy of Tira Audrey

"To me, Juneteenth means FREEDOM, POWER, LOVE, and unapologetically BLACK. It means waking up every day and loving the skin I'm in. It means spreading joy. It means living a life that my ancestors are proud of. It means enjoying bbq ribs, potato salad, collard greens, and cornbread with my family. It means not only supporting a Black-Owned business today but supporting one every day. 

Juneteenth is single-handedly the most important holiday, and I'm so glad we finally get to celebrate in honor of our ancestors."