Juneteenth, a holiday marking the June 19th, 1865 date that word of their freedom finally reached the slaves in Galveston, Texas, is the subject of an upcoming entertainment and art fair organized by the City of Santa Monica and the Juneteenth Celebration Committee.
The holiday program is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 16th, at Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Ave., Santa Monica. Admission is free.
Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Texas in 1980 and is unofficially celebrated in several other states. California is one of 14 states to officially recognize the holiday.
City organizers call the holiday a time to celebrate freedom, dignity and community pride.
This year’s event will have a lineup of entertainment including master of ceremonies Clarence Chazz Ross along with performers Ambienz of the African Latin Dance Ensemble; the ambient band Driving Words; Joe Goldberger and Mike Uhler playing jazz and blues; R&B vocalist Deborah Rogokos; jazz vocalist Ellen Cooper; comedian and TV personality Annie McKnight.
The event will also include flamenco dance, break dance, spoken word and gospel segments.
A helicopter flyover will take place and guest appearances by members of the Tuskegee Airmen veterans of World War II; Buffalo Soldiers; and youth aviators from Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum are planned.
Juneteenth is traditionally celebrated with barbecued foods and a Memphis-style barbecue will be featured at the Santa Monica event.
Information, (310) 458-8688.
HIGHWAYS JUNETEENTH — Highways Performance Space, which calls itself Southern California’s boldest center for performance, will celebrate Juneteenth with a three-day performance art trilogy, Juneteenth and Other Ludicrous Lies and Omissions, directed by filmmaker Charles Burnett.
Performances will take place at 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 15th to 17th, at Highways, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica. Tickets are $20 for general admission or $15 for students and seniors. Two-day passes are available for $35, three-day passes are $40.
Burnett is known for his work directing the films To Sleep With Anger and Where Others Wavered, starring Danny Glover.
For the three-part presentation of poetry,song, multimedia and performance, writer J.M. Morris takes a satirical look at Juneteenth and America’s “dysfunctional melting pot.”
Part one of the satirical work That Ain’t Right features CeCe Antoinette as one of the first Texas slaves to learn that they have been free for over two years. Rolando Boyce performs a tongue-in-cheek segment on how “the Constitution has been used and abused since its inception,” and National Slam Poetry champion Mayda del Valle of Def Poetry Jam fame performs a segment on the impact of the Iraq War on a female veteran.
Did I Say That?, part two of the series, features a parody on cultural identity with Tamika Lamison; a post-September 11th, 2001 perspective of Arab-Americans with Lebanese-American actor Haaz Sleiman; and Angelle Brooks in the comic adventures of a self-professed member of W.E.B. DuBois “saviors of the race” at a Juneteenth fundraiser.
Dirty Laundry, the final part of the series, Sunday, June 17th, includes a “droll send-up on reclaiming the ‘N’ word” with Mailon Rivera; and Candice Afia in a piece about a woman’s witty challenge to the perception that love can conquer all cultural, religious, ethnic, political and racial differences.
All three nights of the series include performances of work by poet Derrick I.M. Gilbert a.k.a. D-Knowledge and vocalist Lura Daniels-Ball.
In conjunction with the performance, there is an exhibit on display in Highways Gallery with work by painter/ sculptor/photographer/multimedia artist Toni Scott.
Information, (310) 315-1459.