While some people are likely going to spend Juneteenth weekend catching up on rest (or their favorite programs on the telly and streaming), it’s truly the perfect time to celebrate Black freedom in a number of ways. While a cookout on Monday is a must, on the days leading up, you can talk about Black art history, dance in Druid Hill Park to the Isley Brothers, listen to Nikole Hannah-Jones speak in Martha’s Vineyard, or pick up a book for your littles at the opening of the brick-and-mortar location of the viral Liberation Station bookstore — among many other things that uplift Black people and businesses. Feel free to have fun in your city, or if you’re down for a quick road trip, pack a light bag and take to the following cities to celebrate.
The new place to be in Raleigh is at children’s book author Victoria Scott-Miller’s new brick-and-mortar location for the Liberation Station Bookstore, which started as a pop-up shop in 2019 she started with her family that centered stories highlighting Black children and families. The 364-square foot space, which will carry more than 1,000 titles, opens on 208 Fayetteville St. near Raleigh’s historic Black Main Street on June 17 as part of the city’s Juneteenth celebration. “This is our love letter to the city of Raleigh,” Scott-Miller says of the bookstore’s opening. “It’s time to plant ourselves. When I think about our work, I think about a tree. We’ve done all this work. We’ve had all this reach but it’s been from the top down. We haven’t been able to physically plant ourselves. Now we get to create a unique cultural hub that is a community-centered, community-driven space for self-discovery and the activation of our work.”
There are a number of events taking place Juneteenth weekend, but one of the most prominent is the AFRAM (which stands for African American) Festival. One of the biggest events that takes place on the East Coast each year, this year’s festivities, on June 17 and 18, include performances from the likes of The Isley Brothers, Spinderella, Tamar Braxton, Ty Dolla $ign and more, along with opportunities to shop, enjoy local food and more in Druid Hill Park.
Fort Worth, Tex.
What better way to spend Juneteenth weekend than by immersing yourself in great art? The 3rd annual Juneteenth Commem-ART-ration shines a spotlight on the African influence on art in history. In addition to educating folks on that, there are also opportunities for those who attend to paint, take part in spoken word or get into some Afrobeat dancing. Black artistic expression is the focus at this event at the Como Community Center, which happens June 17.
Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
Martha’s Vineyard is the place to be this time of year due to the many events that include speakers, good food, lots of music and even more fun. This year, on the 17th, the Annual Juneteenth Jubilee Cultural Festival takes place at The Tabernacle. In addition to a Juneteenth flag raising ceremony to start the day, there will be a fireside chat with Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones, a performance by actress Lynn Whitfield and more.
What won’t you be able to do during Juneteenth weekend in Brooklyn? There’s plenty of fun to be had, but an event sure to fill you up is Black Owned Brooklyn’s Juneteenth Food Festival on June 17 and 18. Taking place at the Weeksville Heritage Center, the festival will showcase the work of 28 Black food businesses, which will offer traditional African American fare to commemorate the holiday, along with some options that show love to Caribbean and African food favorites. There will also be a marketplace to acquire goods of all kinds, all from Black brands.
Food is a major part of Juneteenth celebrations, which is why so many events around the country are focusing on food. In Lexington, there’s a SoulFeast Week starting on Friday the 16th that runs through the 25th. The 10-day event honors Black culinary culture, putting the spotlight on a bevy off Black restaurants, farmers and chefs, including with a Juneteenth Hip-Hop Brunch.
The third annual Cleveland Juneteenth Freedom Fest celebrates the history of Black people, especially the city’s African American community. There are scheduled performances, art demonstrations, a pop-up roller skating rink, a marketplace showcasing Black-owned businesses and more. Get into it on the 16th and 17th.