Beyoncé gifted the world a surprise single on Juneteenth: "Black Parade."
“I’m going back to the South, I’m going back where my roots ain’t watered down," the Texas native, opening the track.
At several points on Friday’s release, the singer tells listeners to “Follow my parade.”
Proceeds from the song will benefit Black-owned small businesses, a page on the icon's website entitled "Black Parade Route" announced. Specifically, the proceeds will go to BeyGOOD's Black Business Impact Fund which is administered by the National Urban League.
"Being Black is your activism," the page reads. "Black excellence is a form of protest. Black joy is your right."
The "Black Parade Route" page also serves as a directory of Black-owned businesses created and curated by Zerina Akers with @black.owned.everything, which Akers founded, according to her Instagram bio.
What to know about Juneteenth: Holiday marking Emancipation Proclamation takes on extra importance in 2020
While President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862, freeing slaves in the South beginning Jan. 1, 1863. Those who enslaved them were responsible for telling them they were free, an order which some ignored until Union troops arrived to enforce it, according to Cliff Robinson, founder of Juneteenth.com. It took two years until after the Civil War's end on April 9, 1865, for the order to take effect in many places.
Texas was the last Confederate state where the proclamation was announced.
On June 19, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, of the Union forces, informed a reluctant community in Galveston, Texas, that President Abraham Lincoln had freed enslaved people in rebel states two-and-a-half years earlier and pressed locals to comply with the directive.
Today, 47 states and Washington, D.C., recognize Juneteenth as either a state holiday or ceremonial holiday.
Celebrations of Juneteenth began in 1866, according to Steve Williams, president of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation.
This year, the annual celebration of freedom comes as the country grapples with its long-standing history of systemic racism, as well as the fate of its Confederate monuments, flags and symbols amid nationwide protests against police brutality and racism after the death of George Floyd, which Beyoncé has spoken out about.
On May 28, the singer posted a photo of Floyd on her website with a message: "Rest in power George Floyd," it reads. She added a call to action, listing few petitions for those who visit the website to sign one of their choosing.
Beyoncé also penned and shared a letter on her website Sunday, addressed to Daniel Cameron, the attorney general of Kentucky, regarding the death of Breonna Taylor. The 26-year-old EMT died by police fire on March 13 after they entered her home with a no-knock warrant. She urged Cameron to bring justice for Taylor and to "demonstrate the value of a Black woman's life."
She added that the three Louisville police officers involved “must be held accountable for their actions.” On Friday, Louisville's Mayor Greg Fischer announced that Brett Hankison, one of the officers who fired a weapon, would terminated from the department.
“We got rhythm, we got pride, we birth kings, we birth tribes,” Beyoncé sings toward the end of the nearly five-minute song.
The song has been released on all major streaming platforms, including Tidal, Spotify and YouTube. Beyoncé also shared the surprise single on Instagram, wishing her followers a happy Juneteenth weekend.
"I hope we continue to share joy and celebrate each other, even in the midst of struggle. Please continue to remember our beauty, strength and power," She wrote. "BLACK PARADE' celebrates you, your voice and your joy."
It received a strong reception. Instagram itself even commented "Thank you. 🖤" on her post
Fans also took to Twitter to comment on the release.
"Literally name one other artist in history who has never missed the way Beyoncé has never missed SHE IS UNDEFEATED," wrote GQ Magazine's Joel Pavelski.
Baltimore TV reporter Tre Ward shared a similar sentiment.
"Maaaan, I swear @Beyonce comes when it’s time to COME!! #BLACKPARADE," he wrote, before adding to his Twitter thread and quoting some of the lyrics.
Celebrities honor Juneteenth, call for action: Usher, Lupita Nyong'o, Taylor Swift and more
For Juneteenth: USA TODAY staff reads excerpt of the Emancipation Proclamation
Contributing: N'dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY, The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Black Parade': Beyoncé drops surprise single on Juneteenth