2020 marks the first time Juneteenth (June 19) is an actual federal holiday and that is something to celebrate! It also lands on Father’s Day this year (the third Sunday in June) which makes it a great excuse to gather with friends and family. The holiday commemorates the end of slavery, when the Union Army issued General Order No. 3, proclaiming that enslaved African-Americans were free. As Black people continue to fight for representation, it is an important reminder that equality and freedom can never be taken for granted, even if they should be. Here are our picks for events around Los Angeles.
Leimert Park Juneteenth Festival
This free celebration of Black culture and community from Still Rising Corp., features art, music, food, and educational activities. The ‘Live on Leimert’ main stage offers next generation hip-hop/R&B artists including Kamasi Washington, Terrace Martin, Buddy, Masego, and Smino. 4395 Leimert Blvd. ; Saturday, June 18. leimertparkjuneteenth.com/
The group of Los Angeles-based musicians called Wild Up are committed to creating “visceral, thought-provoking” events and music. They perform their latest Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy (the second entry in their anthology celebrating the late composer [pictured] and his under-appreciated musical vision). They’ll do a rendition of Eastman’s open score “Buddha” from dawn (5:34am) to dusk (8:07pm) for Juneteenth. 2220 Art & Archives, 2220 Beverly Blvd.; Sunday, June 19. www.2220arts.org
Juneteenth Experience at Blackbird House
Bridgid Coulter Cheadle (actor Don Cheadle’s wife) hosts this event at her new working space for women of color. Blackbird is a niche space designed to inspire woc and their allies and provide a homey atmosphere for creation of ideas and connection. Activities include panel discussions, art installations, gourmet food, relaxation stations, live music, and more. Special guests include Debbie Allen, Iris Rideau, and Rick Garzon. Blackbird Flagship, 3520 Schaefer St, Culver City; Sunday, June 19, 2022 from 2-8 p.m. www.blackbird.house
Celebrate Juneteenth and Father’s Day at Levitt LA’s free outdoor summer show in MacArthur Park. The multi-cultural music mix includes Upstream playing Caribbean, reggae, calypso, soca and steel drum music; Prince Bernard playing steelpan music; Chacombo serving Afro Peruvian jams; and DJ Adé Neff spinning everything from Motown soul to Afro-Cuban beats. There’ll also be a Jonkanoo style celebration from Hummingbird Village– a folk and performing ensemble with Garifuna drummers and singers. Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles in MacArthur Park, 2230 W 6th St.; Sunday, June 19, 4– 7pm; Free. Also streamed live on www.facebook.com/Levitt.LA/, www.twitch.tv/levittlosangeles and www.youtube.com/c/LevittLosAngeles
The Re-Collective Orchestra performs at this celebration of Black freedom, marking the first time for an all-Black symphony orchestra takes the stage at the Hollywood Bowl. Conductors Thomas Wilkins and Derrick Hodge lead the musical fusion of hip-hop, jazz, gospel and soul. Guests includs The Roots, Earth, Wind & Fire, Chaka Kahn and more. Pianist and composer Robert Glasper host the Live Nation Urban event. Sun., June 19, 4:30 p.m. 2301 N. Highland Ave. Hollywood. More info at www.hollywoodbowl.com. Also broadcasted on CNN.