Vanessa Williams will honor Juneteenth during July 4 celebrations

Vanessa Williams will host this year's Capitol Fourth celebration televised live. She will honor not only the country's traditional independence day but also the newly designated holiday, Juneteenth.

Vanessa Williams will honor Juneteenth during July 4 celebrations

Williams was the first Black woman to win Miss America. She will perform "Lift Every Voice, Sing," which is the Black National Anthem.

"It's to celebrate the amazing opportunity that we now have Juneteenth. She said that she was reflecting on the times while promoting the show for this year to the Associated Press.

Juneteenth is a day that commemorates the emancipation African American slaves. It's celebrated in different parts of the United States each year on June 19. This year, it was declared a federal holiday.

"A Capitol Fourth” celebrates 41 years of broadcasting. It is available to millions of viewers via PBS and streaming platforms, as well as troops from around the world.

Williams is the host for this year's event, but it's not the first time she has brought social change to the celebrations. Williams stated that her musical selections reflected the anger and frustration Black women, especially mothers, felt last year at the show.

She sang "Not While I'm Around" by Stephen Sondheim, a song she wrote to express her feelings as a mother of a Black child.

Williams stated that the song was about "just the connection you have with your children and wanting to protect them", and that it was a reflection of George Floyd's pain.

Sondheim's "Somewhere," a song from West Side Story, conjures the hope of a better world. Williams stated, "It is an epic idea about there being a place for all of us somewhere." We'll get there one day, peace and quiet in open air. That's why I had the opportunity to address it last year.

Williams is no stranger to hosting the annual show. She has performed or co-hosted many times since 2005. Elmo was her first duet partner, she recalled. Kermit will be performing a few songs this year with me, as host. Of course, I will be singing.

COVID restrictions may have been relaxed recently, but the show will still respect social ditancing. The performances will not be broadcast live on the West Lawn, as in the past. Williams stated that performers will be located all around the country, including in New York, California, Nashville and other states.

The lineup this year will feature Broadway stars like Cynthia Erivo and Christopher Jackson. Gladys Knight, R&B legend, and country stars Alan Jackson, Jennifer Nettles and Jimmy Buffett are among the list.

There are also a few guests who are beyond this world, literally. Williams stated that three astronauts from NASA are currently in space and will give us a special message on the Fourth of July.

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