As the world starts re-opening again, and more real-world events start to return, we’ll soon bring back our Weekend Buzz events lists. This week, though, we’re going to start with a special Juneteenth edition of Weekend Buzz, noting some real-world commemorations of the holiday, a few more virtual events, and other resources for learning more about Juneteenth and spotlighting African-American history and culture.
The first and biggest Juneteenth event today is the Leimert Park Rising Junteenth Festival: “It took a village to bring it to the village. Celebrating black independence, in every way imaginable.” The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today in Leimert Park Village, 4337 Degnan Blvd., with three entertainment stages presenting music, dance, speakers and more…and special honorees Ben Caldwell, Lauren Halsey, Olympia Auset, and Dom Kennedy. It’s all free…and the organizers ask that you PLEASE WEAR MASKS. (Something we heartily recommend for ALL in-person events right now.)
Meanwhile, at Central Avenue Jazz Park, 4200 S. Central Ave., people will gather at noon today for the Fight for Power One Million People March, honoring “the power of the black dollar and fight for black justice and equity.”
And at 2 p.m. today, there will be a Juneteenth as Black Tradition Caravan and March to reimagine public safety, sponsored by Black Lives Matter, the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, and Downtown Crenshaw. The event will begin at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Obama Blvd.
If you’d rather run than walk, the two-mile Walk for Power Run for Freedom will start at 4 p.m. today at L.A. High Memorial Park, 4625 W. Olympic Blvd., in front of Memorial Branch Library. Participants are encouraged to wear black and to bring food for a post-run picnic.
And finally for the in-person events, and also starting at 4 p.m. today, there will be a No More Names LA Juneteenth Jubilee March for Equality from Pershing Square to City Hall in downtown LA. It’s a fairly short walk, so if you arrive after 4:15 the organizers suggest you meet the marchers at their city hall rallying point.
Virtual Events and Other Online Resources
For those still preferring to remain Safer at Home, there are other ways to mark the date with online entertainment and education:
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will stream its production of Donald Byrd’s “Greenwood,” which is based on the 1921 race-based massacre in Tulsa, OK. The production will be available starting at 4 p.m. Pacific Time at https://www.alvinailey.org/performances/repertory/greenwood (The 35-minute performance will be available through June 25.)
Music fans may enjoy the Juneteenth Verzuz Battle, in which the Instagram series from producer Swizz Beatz features a musical throwdown between Alicia Keys and John Legend. You can find it streaming at https://www.instagram.com/verzuztv/ starting at 5 p.m. tonight.
Director Ava du Vernay’s “13th,” the highly-acclaimed documentary that explains the historic connections between a little-known clause in the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and today’s modern prison system, is now streaming for free on both Netflix and YouTube.
Look What She Did, a website that presents interviews with “amazing women talking about other amazing women,” recently posted a new video in which author Erin Aubry Kaplan tells the story of black business pioneer Ida B. Wells. (And once you’ve watched that one, be sure to explore all the other great interviews on the site.)
With its theaters still dark, the American Cinematheque has moved at least some of its film-based events online, and on Saturday, June 20, at 5 p.m., will present a Zoom-based Q&A with director Spike Lee on his new film Da 5 Bloods, which is also streaming on Netflix. (The Q&A event is free, but registration is required at the event link above.)
And TV gets into the act, too, with the Paley Center’s curated Juneteenth playlist of panel discussions about popular African-American-themed television shows, from the Center’s past PaleyFest events. You can find the presentations on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUVeOmkpnYTz-dhAJuscxKKN4F4K-ZUA3
For more on the specific history of Junteenth, see the Juneteenth.com website, and the Juneteenth page from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
And finally, for a really big, deep list of books and other media for adults, kids and teens, see the Los Angeles Public Library’s Black Lives Matter recommendations…as well as its fascinating piece on celebrated science fiction author Octavia Butler’s long relationship with the LA Central Library.