Juneteenth Viewing Guide: Where to Watch TV Specials and Films Commemorating the Fall of Slavery

The programming ranges from documentaries to movies showcasing Black talent

"Creed 2" (MGM), "Loudmouth" (Showtime) and "Buffalo Soldiers" (PBS) are among a varied slate of Juneteenth programming.

Juneteenth, which falls on June 19, commemorates the fall of slavery in the United States.

It celebrates the anniversary of the order made by Major General Gordon Granger on June 1965 that proclaimed freedom for slaves in Texas. The order was actually made two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

In a tweet Monday, former President Obama explained it as the “delayed but welcome news of freedom reaching the enslaved Black folks in Galveston, Texas.” In 2021, President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Many networks are marking the occasion with Juneteenth TV specials or movie marathons showcasing Black talent and/or excellence. See our viewing guide below:

ABC

ABC is commemorating Juneteenth and Black Music Month with “Hip Hop at 50,” a “Soul of a Nation” presentation airing at 10 p.m. ET. It’ll stream Tuesday on Hulu. It’ll be hosted by Angie Martinez and feature Master P, MC Lyte, Fat Joe, The Lox, Coi Leray, Joey Bada$$, Charlamagne tha God and Lola Brooke.

CBS

“CBS News With Norah O’Donnell” will feature reporting on Juneteenth.

While the primetime lineup will be the usual (“NCIS,” “NCIS Hawai’i” and “NCIS: Los Angeles), the CBS News Streaming Network will stream a marathon of “America in Black,” exploring the Black experience in America, beginning at 6 p.m. ET.

And on Thursday, CBS Reports will premiere “40 Acres and a Mule” at 8 p.m. ET on the streaming service. Today, the phrase “40 acres and a mule” represents the broken promises the U.S. government made with Black American farmers that have contributed to a vast racial wealth gap.

CNN

CNN will host the musical celebration “Juneteenth: A Global Celebration for Freedom,” hosted by CNN journalists Sara Sidner and Van Jones and feature Stephanie Elam. The concert will air at 8 pm ET/PT with Vice President Kamala Harris making remarks.

The musical lineup of performing artists includes Charlie Wilson, Miguel, Kirk Franklin, Nelly, SWV, Davido, Coi Leray, Jodeci and Mike Phillips. Chloe Bailey will make a special tribute to Tina Turner, who passed away late last month.

E!

La La Anthony will host the two-night special event “Black Pop: Celebrating the Power of Black Culture,” debuting Monday at 8pm ET/PT.

The special event will cover all genres of pop culture and entertainment – celebrating music from the gospel roots of Mahalia Jackson to the Motown sound, the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, Black culture’s undisputable impact on fashion, television trailblazers from Diahann Carroll to Oprah Winfrey, sports legends like Sugar Ray Leonard and Laila Ali, the evolution of Black films and the pivotal talents that paved the way – all creating a cultural legacy that set the tone.

Monday’s episodes will focus on Black excellence in music and television, while Tuesday’s episodes will focus on sports and film.

Fox

Fox will not be airing special Juneteenth programming, but “Accused” star Malcolm Jamal-Warner did post a special message about the significance of the holiday.

Fuse

Fuse will celebrate Juneteenth with programming including episodes of “Big Freedia Means Business,” a full-season marathon of “My Wife and Kids,” “Like A Girl”, “Made From Scratch,” and “T-Pain’s School of Business.”

FAST channel Shades of Black will host the world premiere of the Juneteenth Honors starting at 8pm ET. This live awards and music show, presented by The Juneteenth Foundation, will highlight the history and achievements of African Americans and raise money for HBCU scholarships. The event will be hosted by entertainer and entrepreneur MC Lyte and will feature performances by JaRule, Ashanti, Toosii, Lalah Hathaway, iAmCompton, and the Howard Gospel Choir with appearances by T.I., Tamika Mallory, Chuck D., Herbie Hancock, Rohan Marley, Chuck Creekmur (CEO and Founder of AllHipHop), and Dr. Kevin James (President Morris Brown College).

Disney+

Disney+ has two special collections for Juneteenth, including Celebrate Black Stories and Black History Collection.

Paramount+

Paramount+ also has a special collection for Juneteenth, called Black Voices. A special subcollection focuses on Black musical artists and performers for Black Music Month.

PBS

Last week, PBS debuted “Buffalo Soldiers: Fighting on Two Fronts,” the award-winning documentary feature that explores the complex history of Black soldiers in the United States military.

The one-hour documentary will air Monday, June 19 at 8 pm ET on WORLD Channel’s “Local USA” series. The film will be available to stream on the PBS appWORLDChannel.org and on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel. Or you can watch it in its entirety above.

Showtime

On Sunday, Showtime debuted “Loudmouth,” described as the definite documentary on civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton. It’s now available on Showtime’s streaming service.

TBS

TBS will be airing a movie marathon on Juneteenth:

  • “Ray” – 6:30am ET/PT
  • “Dreamgirls” – 9:30am ET/PT
  • “Barbershop 3” – 12:15pm ET/PT
  • “Shaft” – 2:30pm ET/PT
  • “Ride Along 2” – 5pm ET/PT

TCM

Film producer and actress Joie Lee joins TCM host Jacqueline Stewart for a night of films in honor of Juneteenth. They start the night with Spike Lee’s 1989 classic “Do The Right Thing” beginning at 8pm ET, followed by “Alma’s Rainbow.”

TNT

TNT will be airing a movie marathon on Juneteenth:

  • “I Am Legend” – 7am ET/PT
  • “Gemini Man” – 9am ET/PT
  • “I, Robot” – 11:30am ET/PT
  • “Hancock” – 2pm ET/PT
  • “Black Panther” – 4pm ET/PT
  • “Creed 2” – 7pm ET/PT
  • “Black Panther” – 9:30pm ET/PT
  • “Creed 2” – 12:30am ET/PT

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