Beyonce has released a new single 'Black Parade'. Photo / @Beyonce

Beyonce Releases New Single & An Index Of Black-Owned Businesses

The Grammy winner did not let Juneteenth pass without dropping one of her signature surprises - a new single called Black Parade

Grammy-award winner Beyonce released a surprise single Black Parade over the weekend to mark Juneteenth, a holiday honoured in the US to mark the official end of slavery. 

Co-written by Jay-Z, the activist anthem directly references the Black Lives Matter protests.

Proceeds from the song will go towards supporting black-owned businesses with a directory called Black Parade Route pointing people to dozens of creative black-owned businesses, featuring subcategories ranging from fashion, beauty, art, design, restaurants and bars.

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The index was curated with the help of costume designer Zerina Akers – who launched the brand directory Black Owned Everything, earlier this month.

"I'm going back to the South, I'm going back where my roots ain't watered down," Beyonce sings, opening the track. 

LISTEN: Black Parade 

It is the latest surprise release from the 38-year-old singer and actress; in her previous albums were also released with no prior notice including the 2018 album alongside husband Jay-Z Everything Is Love; Lemonade (2016) and Beyonce (2013).

"We got rhythm, we got pride, we birth kings, we birth tribes," Beyonce sings toward the end of the nearly five-minute song.

Introducing the unique project on her website, Beyonce shared a message with fans.

"Happy Juneteenth. Being Black is your activism. Black excellence is a form of protest. Black joy is your right," the message says.

Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free. While the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the South beginning January 1, 1863, it wasn't enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War two years later.

Confederate soldiers surrendered in April 1865, but word didn't reach the last enslaved Black people until June 19, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to Galveston, Texas.

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Beyonce has been vocal about her stance against police brutality, speaking out on social media after the death of 46-year-old Black Minneapolis man George Floyd on May 25.

"We're broken and we're disgusted. We cannot normalise this pain," she said in an Instagram video that called for people to sign a petition demanding justice for Floyd.

The singer also joined the call for charges against the officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor, who was gunned by plainclothes officers who burst into her Kentucky home in March.

In a letter to Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron, Beyonce wrote that the three Louisville police officers "must be held accountable for their actions".

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While the attorney general has asked for patience while a probe is underway, Louisville's mayor announced on Friday that one of the officers would be fired.

The release of Black Parade is the singer's latest philanthropic effort.

In April she announced her BeyGOOD charity would partner with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's Start Small campaign to provide $9 million in relief funds to a variety of groups working to provide basic necessities in cities like New Orleans, Detroit, Houston and New York. 

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New Zealand Herald

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