Major League Baseball is the sole organization of North America’s four major men’s sports leagues—NFL, NBA, and NHL, too—that’s in season during Juneteenth, which commemorates when slaves in Texas learned they were free on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after entering the Proclamation emancipation into effect. Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021.
While the Fourth of July celebrates America’s separation from the British, Juneteenth marks a historic time for enslaved people whose descendants went on to do great things, including becoming some of the most important figures in baseball history.
Legendary rapper Chuck D of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Public Enemy group, grew up a huge baseball fan. he have Iconic portrait of Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron in his possession. He is often seen wearing a baseball cap with a P on it. The P, with some assuming it was for Public Enemy, was for the Pittsburgh Pirates, as he was a huge fan of Clemente as a player and humanitarian.
Chuck D wrote songs that MLB has used around Hall of Fame advertisements. His latest album, We Wreck Stadiums, is a collection of songs dedicated to baseball stars of the past. There is even baseball artwork in His book “Livin Loud”, An art show showcasing his skills as a painter that includes more than 250 paintings, drawings and drawings.
Chuck D remembers three years ago when MLB flipped its logo for Juneteenth, making it black and white to honor the day. Comments on MLB’s Instagram for the logo were a mixed bag of opinions. There was a positive reaction to this gesture. Some felt that this step was not enough. Others saw the league injecting social issues into the game.
It was a move that helped baseball even after three years, Chuck D said, and it’s a sign the league wants to acknowledge and engage with black fans. Chuck D, now 62, said he hasn’t been an MLS fan since the 1994 strike, but he still has a penchant for the sport he grew up with.
“MLB is trying to figure it out,” he said. “You know, teamwork in baseball, as far as black people are concerned, has been our biggest outlet. We talk especially (about) the patriotic pastime, which was, like baseball and hot dogs and apple pie — and a little bit of racism.”
In celebration of Yonanth, baseball acknowledges the black community, but the number of black players born in America is near its lowest point in nearly 80 years. according to Study by USA Today in AprilOnly 6.1 percent (58 out of 945) of the players on Opening Day were black, the lowest number since 1955.
MLB has many programs that aim for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Programs like RBI (Revive Inner Cities Baseball) Used to “provide opportunities to play baseball and softball to youth in disadvantaged communities.” From a diversity perspective, Chuck D also acknowledged sports journalist Rob Parker and what site he founded, MLBBro.comto highlight the black and brown players in the game.
Additionally, Chuck D pointed to Harold Reynolds, a television analyst and former lead link, for his efforts. Two-time All-Stars helped get Chuck D’s songs about baseball on MLB.TV. Chuck D was inspired to write “It’s so hard to see my baseball cards move” during the COVID-19 pandemic. He finished the song at the end of 2020 during the baseball season; Released in 2021.
If MLB is using Juneteenth as an opportunity to celebrate the Black community, Chuck D’s album can help as an unofficial soundtrack. The album isn’t just for black gamers, but it features songs about stars like Mays and Fergie Jenkins.
“The pandemic has wiped out sports, so people are looking for content. It just happens to be the right thing at the right time,” Chuck D said of his latest album. “(MLB) might show something old — like a Hall of Fame vote or if Pete Rose attended Or Barry Bonds or whatever — and I’m like, ‘Hey, listen, if you’re bringing up something old, I’m there. I’ll come up with a song.'”
Highlighting the Juneteenth is important, said Chuck D, but baseball should do it, as evidenced by the reaction of some to the upside-down logo. However, baseball will continue to celebrate Uniteth in many ways.
MLB today to show its progress. Perfect timing while much of the sporting world is in the off-season.
(Photo by Chuck D: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Paisley Park)
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