“You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” Malcom X
This Sunday, June 19, marks the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States: Juneteenth. This federal holiday marks the day in 1865 when enslaved Blacks in Galveston, Texas finally received news of their freedom—two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation executive order to abolish slavery and two months after Congress officially passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Juneteenth prompts an important day of reflection for all of us to acknowledge a dark period in our nation’s history that shaped, and continues to influence, American society. There is much to be done to combat injustice, structural racism, and oppression, yet we believe the arts, especially the power of free, live music in public spaces, can help bridge divides, inspire hope, and strengthen communities.
Across the Levitt network, Levitt venues and Levitt AMP concert sites are commemorating Juneteenth with music and festivities celebrating Black culture (June also happens to be Black Music Appreciation Month), while also partnering with community leaders and supporting local events. Check out the festivities happening this weekend across the nation from Arlington to Dayton, to Springfield, Ill., to Woonsocket, R.I., plus learn how the Levitt Foundation is supporting Juneteenth beyond the Levitt network through our sponsorship and community partnership with the Robert Randolph Foundation’s Juneteenth Unityfest!
Levitt Venue and Levitt AMP Concert Sites
A returning partner to the city’s 28th annual Juneteenth Celebration, the Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation and its Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series, is kicking it all off with its free Thursday night concert on June 16, with Victoria Capo and her jazz trio, followed by Afro-rock songstress Natu Camara. Camara began her music career in the Ideal Black Girls, a Guinean quartet considered West Africa’s first all-female R&B and hip-hop group. Since relocating to Harlem, the Ivory Coast-born singer has flipped her musical equation. Whereas initially she was regarded as an African artist performing music with an American edge, now she embraces her New Yorker identity performing music steeped in Afro-pop. The rest of Springfield’s Juneteenth Celebration weekend is filled with family-friendly activities at the Illinois State Museum and a Juneteenth Unity parade. More details about the city’s festivities can be found at juneteenthspi.org.
Levitt Pavilion Arlington is hosting a weekend of concerts as part of the three-day Arlington Juneteenth Jubilee, happening primarily in downtown Arlington, Texas. The free concert on Saturday, June 18, will feature the rock and soul duo of Tyra + Tiara, followed by the down-home blues of Jazz Super Friends and culminate with R&B headliner Ron Artis II and the Truth. The celebration continues on Juneteenth with DFW pop-funk musician Larry Ladale, followed by the Black Opry Revue. The Revue stars a showcase of Black music artists performing a range of Americana genres, including blues, country, and folk. Audiences can partake in the plethora of other activities as part of the city’s celebration at arlingtontx.gov, including a Cookout for seniors, the MLK Day of Service, a Street Arts Festival and ecumenical services at the Greater Community Missionary Baptist Church.
Levitt National Tour artists The New Respects will launch the music series of two Levitt AMP communities this weekend, and appear as part of local Juneteenth festivities: Levitt AMP Woonsocket (June 17) and Levitt AMP Utica (June 20). Levitt AMP Woonsocket is partnering with a local church for a kickoff Juneteenth celebration happening later this weekend, while Levitt AMP Utica’s concert is the final performance in the city’s extended Juneteenth weekend celebration featuring numerous events, activities, and performances. The New Respects, a Nashville-based family trio, uplifts audiences with their playful, energetic and familiar vibe, lush harmonies, and throwback grooves. As part of these Juneteenth celebrations, audience members in Woonsocket and Utica can post a photo or video to Twitter or Instagram from either Levitt AMP concert with the hashtag #LevittTourWoonsocket or #LevittTourUtica for the chance to win a signed t-shirt from the band!
Levitt Pavilion Dayton is using its lawn to educate, entertain, and commemorate Juneteenth on Saturday, June 18 at Dave Hall Plaza. The free festivities will include a community celebration curated by Sierra Leone of Signature Educational Solutions and Oral Funk Poetry Productions. Maimouna Youssef (AKA Mumu Fresh) will headline the evening’s concert with original music that reflects the Black experience and Black empowerment. The GRAMMY®-nominated Indigenous singer/songwriter, activist and acclaimed hip hop artist has been called a “quadruple threat” by The Roots’ Black Thought and “groundbreaking” by Oscar®-winning artist, Common.
Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks will honor Juneteenth with a number of activities on its campus on Saturday, June 18. During the day, the Juneteenth Lehigh Valley and Air Products present a time of celebration featuring various performing artists and musical bands that illuminate the contributions of Blacks to the fabric of this nation as well as a theatrical performance, child-centered ethnic storytelling, step teams, and a Historical Menu and Tasting. Small business owners, offering products that are culturally based, and food truck vendors, providing ethnic-based cuisine, will also be on location to highlight the diversity of Lehigh Valley. In the evening as part of Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks free concert series, Boulevards takes the stage performing funk, soul and pop, seamlessly delivering cheeky, party-themed jams that range from raw and risque to soulful as part of the celebration.
Beyond the Levitt network, the Levitt Foundation is proud to partner with the Robert Randolph Foundation as a community partner and sponsor of Juneteenth Unityfest. Founded in 2021, Juneteenth Unityfest is an annual event that strives to bring together diverse voices in commemoration and celebration of Juneteenth and Black culture. “Strengthening the social fabric of communities through free, live music is central to our mission,” says Sharon Yazowski, executive director of the Levitt Foundation. “We are honored to partner with the Robert Randolph Foundation for this year’s Juneteenth Unityfest, celebrating the vibrancy and significant contributions of Black artists and culture into American society, while furthering equal justice for people of all backgrounds.”
This year, two major events take over Brooklyn. The all-ages Juneteenth Unityfest 2022 Block Party will feature appearances by DJ Spinna, Josh Milan, Soul Summit Music, and Descendants of Sound. Later that evening at the Lena Horne Bandshell in Prospect Park, the amazing line-up of artists continues as award-winning gospel singer Tye Tribbett headlines the Juneteenth Unityfest 2022 Concert, with additional performances by Deborah Cox, Israel Houghton, Mali Music, Robert Randolph, and more. All performances are free, but guests can RSVP on juneteenthunityfest.com. LIVEOne will serve as the official Juneteenth Unityfest streaming partner for those not lucky enough to be in the New York area.
The Levitt Foundation is proud to commemorate Juneteenth and support organizations across the Levitt network and beyond. Through music, entertainment, and educational activities on the local and national level, Levitt communities are marking the day to celebrate Black freedom and cultural heritage. The Foundation remains committed to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), recognizing these values as essential to realizing the Levitt mission. We work to not only embody the importance of Juneteenth on a single day, but in all that we do every day of the year.