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Jonathan McReynolds, DOE and Chandler Moore “Breathe” on Apple Music’s Juneteenth project

June 19th (Juneteenth) also known as “Freedom Day” marks the day that African American slaves in Galveston Texas were liberated. Although the holiday has been celebrated for over 150 years, increased racial awareness and heightened racial tensions in recent years has led to greater attention placed on the holiday.

This year Apple Music celebrates “Freedom Day” by treating music lovers to an exclusively curated multi-genre playlist of songs by some of music’s favourite names. Juneteenth: Freedom Songs Playlist is an idea born with the desire to make sure new sounds were available for this important day.This is a very big moment in history that the mainstream is embracing and acknowledging the day enslaved Black Africans were set free from physical bondage by the US government,” said Ebro Darden, Apple Music Global Head of Hip-Hop and R&B, in an interview with Respect Magazine.

Gospel representation on the playlist includes Kirk Franklin’s reimagined cover of “We Shall Overcome.” Franklin’s powerful rendition samples a snippet of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream,” albeit with a classic Kirk Franklin spin. Interwoven in the song is a tribute to the numerous black  American victims of police brutality. 

Maverick City Music tapped Grammy award winner Jonathan McReynolds and his protégé DOE for their new song “Breathe,” which is also featured on the playlist. Written during the group’s April song writing camp and shared on social media, the video post racked up over 270k views. Expounding on the message behind the song they posted: “In a year of such unrest, we contemplated and meditated on the power of our breath. His breath which gives life and created all of which we see. His breath in us is more powerful than our shouts. While there is still work to be done, we are taking this time to breathe because it’s a miracle we can breathe.”

Written by Akosua DF, Premier Gospel Presenter

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