Virtual Juneteenth enjoys two days of music, dance, comedy, movies and more
The Riverhead-based African American educational and cultural festival will host a virtual benefit to celebrate June 19, June 19 and 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Juneteenth, or Jubilee Day, is celebrated on June 19 to mark the day the last African Americans enslaved in the United States learned of their emancipation. The benefit will include music, comedy, history and gospel, according to AAECF entertainment director Samuel Thomas.
“It’s the education of Juneteenth – why Juneteenth is important on behalf of so many people – and then the lightness of it with comedy and music,” Thomas said. “It’s a one size fits all. It’s up to everyone to sit down and appreciate and be grateful for how far we’ve come, but also to keep in mind how far we still have to go.
Virtual musical performances for the benefit include Earth group, Wind and Fire Tribute, Leon and the Peoples Reggae group, Winston Irie and a special performance by Hip-Hop Harry.
The benefit will also show two prominent African-American films, Thomas said. On Saturday they will present “Race,” a film about African-American athlete Jesse Owens, who competed for and won gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany. On Sunday, they will present “The Wiz”, a reimagined musical based on “The Wizard of Oz” which features an all-black cast.
Proceeds from the performance will be used to fund festival programs to provide resources and programs to underserved communities.
“The money we get from a benefit and doing things like this is going to dramatically enrich the local community, up and down the island and into the city,” Thomas said.
Tickets for the performance start at $ 15 per day. Domestic tickets, which allow multiple viewers, are $ 25. You can buy tickets on the AAECF website.
“This celebration must take place for the understanding of our history,” said Thomas. “The turning point in our existence began on that day. It really has become a day of rejoicing; an end of one journey and the beginning of another, which we are still going through.
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