3 minute read

OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — With the recent vote to make June 19 a national holiday, the once informal Juneteenth celebration takes on a new prominance.

There will be a temptation in some quarters to homogenize the holiday or skew it to become yet another tribute to the nation; instead, it should be a remembrance of those who were lost to the evils of slavery and a commemoration of the moment when the practice was finally purged from American life.

The resilience of Black life throughout the centuries of pain and cruelty are reason for celebrations around the day that marks the end to slavery in the U.S.

To celebrate the resilience of Black life, two days of celebration and events on the Eastside will mark this year’s Juneteenth.

Music and film

by Brett Fieldcamp

Sponsored by True Sky Credit Union

First official Juneteenth in OKC!

This year, Oklahoma City celebrates Juneteenth with Juneteenth on the East, a two-day, family-friendly event featuring dance performances, live music, food trucks, education tents, murals and more on NE 23rd Street between Kelham Avenue and Hood Street. 


Rapper Sa-Roc headlines the event, bringing socially conscious rhymes from her new album on Rhymesayers, The Sharecropper’s Daughter, to the festival stage. 

Born Assata Perkins in Washington, D.C., Sa-Roc named herself in tribute to MC Sha-Rock, one of the earliest female rappers whose irrepressible flow can be heard on the Funky 4+1 classic, “That’s the Joint.” Having collaborated with David Banner and Black Thought on previous projects, Sa-Roc released The Sharecropper’s Daughter, her first album for Rhymesayers, in October 2020. The Economist named the album one of the 15 best albums of 2020. 

Organized by rapper, businessman and activist Jabee, the festival will be a celebration of freedom for Black people and their allies in working toward true freedom. 

“Black people in the United States got a first taste of liberation on June 19, 1865, after over 400 years of enslavement, exploitation and denial of humanity,” Jabee said in a prepared statement. 

“June 19th now marks an annual celebration of Juneteenth. Today, we celebrate the Black community’s leadership in cultural revolutions and a powerful determination to celebrate, gather, create, dance, sing, and live in abundant joy.”

“This joy is not reliant on physical or systemic circumstances; instead, the ability to withstand oppression with laughter and levity is locked deep within Black culture and genetic memory.”

In addition to the events on NE 23rd Street, the Juneteenth celebration will include a screening of Black Panther at 6 p.m. Sunday on the great lawn at Scissortail Park presented by deadCenter Film Festival. The event is free and open to the public. (Updated)


Saturday, June 19, 2021

3 pm – 9 pm Performances

NE 23rd St. between N. Kelham Ave. and N. Hood St.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

6 pm Cookout

9 pm Film Screening – Black Panther

Scissortail Park, 300 SW 7th Street

And … this!

Festival of the Arts, Oklahoma City’s massive celebration of visual, performing and culinary arts, kicks off Tuesday at Bicentennial Park, adjacent to the Civic Center Music Hall. 

This free, six-day event sponsored by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City features visual art from local, regional, and national artists as well as food and drink and live performances by artists such as Short Dogg, Kat Lock, BedTime, Kyle Dillingham and Horseshoe Road, Ckai Dawson and Elevation, Carter Sampson, Levi Parham, and The Wise Guys. Visit artscouncilokc.com.

And … this, too!

Heard On Hurd, the annual music and family fun celebration in Edmond kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday with performances from Bedtime, Jacobi Ryan, and The Imaginaries. Visit mycitizens.bank/heard-on-hurd.

Last Updated June 19, 2021, 3:24 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor