By : Rory-Lambert Wright
4 min read
Boston has relied on the work and creativity of its Black population to thrive and grow since its foundation. Juneteenth is a time to honor our ancestor’s lives, labor, and resistance, and there are plenty of opportunities to do so in the city this year! We’ve compiled some of them for you below.
-“A New Afro Latino Beat Poet”- Boston Public Library, June 17th 12:30pm
Visit the Boston Public Library on the 17th and experience a spoken word and musical performance from one of the most visible and talented young poets from Boston, Qadir Shabazz, whose meticulously delivered and thoughtfully-written poetry will be accompanied by the musical musings of Jazz instrumentalist Lone Sol. Spoken word poetry speaks for itself (literally), but experiencing a skilled wordsmith vibe onstage with a tuned-in musician will convince you that such an event is an entirely different experience of both Black art forms.
-The Juneteenth Joy Festival, Hyde Park, June 18th 11:00-2:30pm
Pull up to Hyde Park on June 18th for a day of Performances, exhibits, and vendors! Admittance is free. The Juneteenth Joy Festival organizers of the West Fairmount Hill neighborhood are well versed in creating meaningful community events with a focus on justice. They will also be hosting two Juneteenth Joy pre-events! More info can be found at Westfhcommunity.org, or their Eventbrite page for tickets to pre-events.
-The Juneteenth Boston Committee 2022 Festivities
The Juneteenth Boston Committee is spearheading a charge to raise the Juneteenth Flag over the state house on Friday, and has organized several events for the holiday weekend. On Friday the 17th, the 2022 March to Freedom will gather at 5pm at the National Center of Afro-American Artists at 5pm, and will continue to Nubian Square. On the 18th, a family beach day is planned at Carson Beach from 1:00 to 7:00pm, and the evening of Juneteenth itself, they will host their first annual Juneteenth Royalty gala and King and Queen Ceremony, an event reminiscent of contest, pageant, and dance hall events that Black communities have been gathering for for generations. Tickets for the Gala are available at juneteenthboston.eventbrite.com, and the March and Beach Day are free to the public!
- Juneteenth Poetry Slam with Amanda Shea Didi Delgado, Nubian Gallery, 2164 Washington Street, June 18th 7:30pm
Most of these events imply attendees being audience members- but if you’re a performer of the spoken word kind, this poetry slam is for you! Those who have registered will be called to perform live at Nubian Gallery and remotely online for the Boston poetry community. The organizer Didi Delgado is an essential read and top talent in the world of Boston spoken word. Didi’s is the head of operations for the Society of Urban Poetry and the leader of the 40 Acres and a School project, an organization coordinating the payment of reparations, Black food sovereignty, and community space, and is an invaluable asset to spoken word nationwide. Food will be available for attendees. Don’t miss this chance to see a set of talented performers, or the chance to be one as well. Visit tinyurl.com/juneteenthslam to register.
-Boston Arts Music and Soul Festival 2022, Franklin Park Playstead Field, June 11th 10:00 to 5:00pm
If you caught our last issue, you already know this festival is a real one. BAMSfest has worked hard for sponsorship and media attention, and this has allowed them to swell to one of the biggest recurring events for local arts culture in Boston. Get ready for live painting, folkloric dance and song, RnB, Afrobeats, Rap, Black diaspora cuisine from Jamaica to Nigeria, and more. It’s an event by and for Black Boston, and with a young audience and affordable passes, it’s accessible to all. Find out more at BAMsfest.org!
-The Museum of Fine Arts Free Admissions Day: June 20th, 10:00am to 5:00pm
The MFA is known for providing free admissions on certain holidays, and is offering it to all Massachusetts residents on the 20th! Aside from a wealth of historical fine art and strong work by contemporaries, there will be several performances and conversations hosted by local organizers to visit as well. Side Presents, a strong organizing team based in Roxbury, will be (side) presenting “The Most Estranged Fruits”, a multimedia production examining the failures of American democracy to uplift black people and serving as a celebration of Black artistry. They will also be moderating a discussion with Black artists about the personal side of Artistry- self-expression, finding meaning, and confronting history in one’s own life and through art. Tickets are NOT available, because it’s FREE! Come through!
-The Embrace Ideas Festival, June 13th – 17th
This festival organized by the King Boston program features five days of music, lectures, organizing, history, and celebration. It’s a valuable opportunity for Black Bostonians, Black families, and aspiring Black artists, activists, and professionals to gather and learn from their shared communities. Events will be hosted at the Institute of Contemporary Art, GBH Studios, Harvard Medical School, and more. Interested in dance parties? Check out DJ Real P perform. Want to hear one of the most prestigious Black Doctors in Mass discuss her experience? Dr. Thea James of the Boston Medical Center will be talking on the 14th. There’s a great deal to see, and both 1-day and 5-day passes are available at the event’s website, embraceideasfestival.org.
Capping off the week is the Juneteenth Block Party in Nubian square from 4-9pm, with a host of excellent music, dance, food, and a variety of local Black-owned vendors. Nubian square’s history is a historical center of commerce, art, and protest for Black Bostonians, and it’s a fitting place for a jubilee and commemoration to revel in the progress we have made since our victory over the greatest act of violence America ever committed against Africans. Let this festival foster a recognition of our shared history, and a commitment to fighting the oppression of our people here and around the world.
6/19 Dorchester Juneteenth: Housing is a Human Right @Town Field: 1565 Dorchester Ave, Boston MA 02122 4-7pm
Live Music - Liberation Art Table - Speakers - Local Vendors - Good. Come celebrate the end of slavery while looking ahead to help others!
6/18 Tiny Trap Concerts Juneteenth Edition ft. DJ Alcide, Al Divino, Nyeusi Loe, Estee Nack hosted by Henny Kravits & Jah-di @Apothca, Lynn 6:30PM-9PM 21+ $30-50
Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #147 June 2022
Check out all the art and columns of June's Boston Compass at www.issuu.com/bostoncccompass