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Usher packed an Independence Day message into his performance last night that was a little more nuanced than "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

The singer took to the New Orleans stage of the Essence Music Festival wearing a jacket and T-shirt with a message:

The back of Usher's leather jacket bore the message: "Have we truly achieved our independence?"

The front of his T-shirt had the words "July Fourth" crossed out in blue and red stripes. Underneath that, it read: "Juneteenth."

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While the United States declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776, it wasn't until the abolition of slavery in 1865—an event now celebrated as Juneteenth annually on June 19—that every black American gained their freedom (Jim Crow, another half-century of voting restrictions on black women, and other subsequent forms of institutionalized racism and discrimination notwithstanding).

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It looks like Usher wanted his Essence Fest audience to reflect on what we really mean when we talk about American independence, and—at a time when nine black people can be shot and killed by a white supremacist inside of a church—call attention to ways in which some Americans are more independent than others.

Bad at filling out bios seeks same.