‘We received feedback’: The commercialization of Juneteenth backfires for big brands

professional headshot of Dr. William Darity

By Marquise Francis May 28, 2022

Large corporations that initially sought to cash in on Juneteenth-themed items ahead of the new federal holiday on are now walking back their commercialization efforts after backlash on social media. On Tuesday, Walmart said it would remove its store-brand ice cream celebrating Juneteenth amid growing condemnation of the retailer trivializing the day for profit. “Juneteenth holiday marks a celebration of freedom and independence,” the company said in a statement. “However, we received feedback that a few items caused concern for some of our customers and we sincerely apologize. We are reviewing our assortment and will remove items as appropriate.” … Overall, the commoditization of American holidays is a common occurrence. “Once any signal event is declared a national holiday, it is subject to potential commercialization,” William Darity, a public policy professor at Duke University and racial equity expert, told Yahoo Finance. Darity added that the Juneteenth’s national acknowledgement, ironically, may take away from “the compelling need for a comprehensive national program for Black American reparations.” “Imagine how different the landscape would look if Juneteenth had been designated as a federal holiday after reparations had been paid,” he said.