Juneteenth, a commemoration observed in communities across U.S.
Juneteenth, is a commemoration observed in communities and cities across the country for more than 150 years. It is to mark the day slaves in Texas were informed of their freedom, was recently designated as an officially recognised federal holiday by the United States Congress. On June 19, celebrations across the country are likely to take on a new level of significance. A starry group of Black artists will present an outdoor event that not only marks the day, but also examines the very idea of freedom itself, at Lincoln Center in New York.
“I Dream a Dream that Dreams Back at Me” was conceived and curated by Carl Hancock Rux, a poet, author, playwright, actor, and musician. He expresses mixed feelings about the holiday, which is traditionally marked by hot dogs, fireworks, and music.
“Juneteenth,” Rux explains, “is like these enslaved people who shouldn’t have been enslaved in the first place, and then they finally get the information that they’re free.” “And now, where do they go?” says the narrator. There is no programme in place to ensure their freedom. There are no institutions in place to ensure their freedom. Even though it was promised, no land has been given to these people in exchange for their freedom. There is no place for them to stay.
Rux says he wanted to create an evening that takes the audience on a journey and asks, “Would you like to go on a journey with me?.” “What do we do to commemorate our liberation? And, more importantly, how do we go beyond simply celebrating freedom to actually questioning it?”
There Will Be No Fireworks Or Hot Dogs, But There Will Be Music
There will be no fireworks or hot dogs, but there will be music. Nona Hendryx, a pop icon who is not only singing but also writing music with Vernon Reid to lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage. She is one of the many artists performing that evening. Standing in Lincoln Center’s reflecting pool, Hendryx will represent a welcoming spirit. The water is meant to evoke Harriet Tubman, who travelled back and forth 19 times through swampy water to Cambridge, Maryland, to free slaves.
For this opening blues, rock, and gospel incantation, singers Marcelle Lashley and Kimberly Nichole will join Hendryx in the water. They’ll be dressed in costumes created by visual artist Dianne Smith out of paper. Water and paper are complementary natural elements, according to Rux, so “it makes perfect sense that these women almost become like trees.”
The audience will then be directed to a different location, where Rux claims they will encounter singer and performance artist Helga Davis, who will be towering above them and throwing confetti.
“Star Spangled Banner” Will Be Performed Also Known As The Black National Anthem.
She’ll perform both the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” – also known as the Black National Anthem. According to Rux, “will in some ways combine and deconstruct them, allowing some words from one to bleed into the other, making us question whether or not freedom is everything we thought it should be.”
Rux explains that Davis represents the promised land. “”However, once you arrive in the promised land,” he continues, “you must ask yourself: Is it everything you hoped for?” Is this everything you hoped for? Is it everything you hoped for and more? Have you got everything you’ll need?”
After that, the audience will be treated to a performance by artist Toshi Reagon and her band, BIGLovely, who will perform folk, blues, and gospel songs. Will also include some from her soon-to-be-released album, Beautiful World. Every year, Reagon says she enjoys reading about Juneteenth, and she always finds the stories to be relevant.
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