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Juneteenth 2024: A celebration of Black freedom, culture and identity

People in dresses dance on a stage.
Photo by Osmany Torres, courtesy of Hued Songs Inc.
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Artburst Miami
From June 14 to 19, the performance collective Hued Songs presents The Juneteenth Experience 2024. A show from last year at The Miami Beach Bandshell featuring Nayah Merisier, Maryann Benjamin, and Nyla Walker.

Juneteenth returns this year with a multitude of events celebrating Black freedom, culture, and identity across the United States, including celebrations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, Florida International University (FIU), and Hued Songs are among the organizations hosting events for Juneteenth. It was June 19, 1865, the day the last enslaved people in the United States were informed of their emancipation, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

On Thursday, June 13, the Adrienne Arsht Center will host its third annual Juneteenth Juke Joint, featuring multi-genre artist Denise Renee, also known as Stout, and her band. Lakeisha Frith, Director of Education at the Center, describes the Juke Joint as a “celebration of freedom” and a “call to action for our community to come together and celebrate Black culture through music, food, and dance.”

Denise Renee (Stout) is the featured artist this year at the Arsht Center’s Juneteenth Juke Joint, chosen for her versatility in Black music.
Photo courtesy of artist management
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Artburst Miami
Denise Renee (Stout) is the featured artist this year at the Arsht Center’s Juneteenth Juke Joint, chosen for her versatility in Black music.

Guests entering the Ziff Ballet Opera House will be greeted by an immersive experience of Black-focused art, says Frith.

In addition to musical performances, another cultural element that will be highlighted at Arsht Center’s Juke Joint is food.

“Juneteenth pays homage to the rich history of Black music, culture, and food. Food is such a big part of what makes this community special,” says Frith, announcing that this year the event will feature Chef Shanae Gibson, the lead chef at Verde at PAMM, who will prepare special dishes for the occasion.

The Juke Joint is part of the Heritage Project, which promotes social equality and amplifies Black voices. “The Arsht Center celebrates Black artists year-round on campus and throughout our community through The Heritage Project’s annual free Heritage Fest, Juneteenth Juke Joint, and other special events,” says Frith. The Ziff Ballet Opera House will have a layout that encourages guests to mix, mingle, and make new friends while also supporting the arts.

This year, the Arsht Center partners with the New Canon Chamber Collective, a Florida-based not-for-profit chamber ensemble composed of Black musicians and other artists, to enhance the Juke Joint experience. Additionally, there will be a gallery featuring curated images from The Black Archives collection, providing a visual and inspiring element for participants. Frith mentions that The Black Archives will curate images from its Art & Entertainment Collection, showcasing photographs from Overtown and Miami during its heyday from the 1940s to the 1960s, capturing South Florida nightlife, party scenes, and performances all set in the heart of Miami.

Denise Renee (Stout) is the featured artist this year, chosen for her versatility in Black music. Frith praises Stout’s ability to transport listeners through various genres, from gospel to jazz and soul. “What makes Stout so special and unique is her stage presence,” says Frith. “In a matter of moments, she can take you from gospel to jazz, soul, and back. Her music transports the listener from 2024 back to a 1940s Juke Joint where guests met, danced, and celebrated all night long.”

Stout aims to inspire the audience with messages of hope and resilience. “Anytime I am called to do what I love is a blessing. I am absolutely honored,” she says, adding, “I have a responsibility to remain authentic in my expression so that the listeners can be healed.”

Stout announces that her performance will be packed with messages of hope and resilience. “I hope that after experiencing our show, they feel motivated to pursue whatever dream they have,” says the artist who admires The Supremes / Labelle era. “Their voices, aura, and styling are a homage to the beautiful singers of that time.”

FIU celebrates Juneteenth 

For its fourth year, Florida International University will observe, from Wednesday, June 12 through Wednesday, June 19, the historic day of Juneteenth with a series of events under the theme “Educate. Celebrate. Heal.”

According to Garth D. Headley, director of Equal Opportunity – Department of Access, Compliance, and Equal Opportunity (ACE), Juneteenth was declared an official day of observance by FIU in 2020 and the university first observed it in 2021.

FIU’s 2022 Freedom Day Celebration at Modesto Maidique Campus, a community event featuring performances, local DJs and Live music, art exhibitions, food trucks.
Photo courtesy of Florida International University
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Artburst Miami
FIU’s 2022 Freedom Day Celebration at Modesto Maidique Campus, a community event featuring performances, local DJs and Live music, art exhibitions, food trucks.

“A series of events, including educational workshops and teach-ins, scholarship opportunities, and a full day of celebration free and open to the entire community, were launched,” he says, adding that each year over 1,200 people participate at the events and activities.

Events are planned for the Modesto A. Maidique Campus (MMC) and the Biscayne Bay Campus (BBC). Virtual events are also planned, says Headley. “All Juneteenth programming and events are open to faculty, staff, students and all in the FIU community”. Guests are encouraged to register online, particularly for

For this new edition, key activities include the Juneteenth Spoken Word Scholarship Competition, Juneteenth Nova Star Scholarship Competition Show (Wednesday, June 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m., MMC), Juneteenth Freedom Day Celebration (Saturday, June 15, 1 to 5 p.m., MMC), and Official Juneteenth Ceremony (Wednesday, June 19, 9 to 11 a.m., BBC).

The Juneteenth Nova Star Scholarship Competition Show will showcase FIU’s Nova Court, which are students who demonstrate leadership, self-confidence, and commitment to the FIU community. The main event, Freedom Day on Saturday, June 15, features food trucks, live music, DJs, Junkanoo, drumming, stepping competitions, interactive art, and health screenings. It coincides with the FIU Frost Art Museum’s summer exhibit launch, open to all visitors at the MMC campus.

“Juneteenth at FIU honors the rich legacy and continuing contributions of African Americans to the tapestry of American History,” says Headley. “Opening all planned events and activities to our community serves to not only educate our public on this historic celebration, but to embrace all in our community into the FIU experience where all are indeed welcomed, honored and celebrated.”

The Juneteenth Experience by Hued Songs

From Friday, June 14 to Wednesday, June 19, the performance collective Hued Songs presents The Juneteenth Experience 2024, their 4th annual celebration of Black liberation through art.

In 2021, Hued Songs launched the first iteration of The Juneteenth Experience, according to Hued Songs’ Executive Artistic Director, Kunya Rowley.

“We launched The Juneteenth Experience,” he continues, “because we recognized the ways in which these important cultural holidays are often relegated to one day. For us, though, this was an opportunity to create a month-long celebration of Juneteenth to imbue further all the lessons it teaches us across our community. Lessons about hope and about perseverance.”

The inaugural performance at the Miami Beach Bandshell catalyzed what has now become an annual community celebration.

In this new edition, says Rowley, audiences can expect a show that features a wide range of music, poetry, dance, and visual media. The performance, co-written by Rowley and Miriam King, blends gospel, contemporary, and classical music, all reimagined by musical director King Friday. Poetry by Arsimmer McCoy and choreography by Gentry Isaiah George add depth to the narrative.

“This show is truly an ensemble show, with every cast member playing a critical role in shaping the experience,” says Rowley. “Each artist was selected because, of course, they are incredibly talented, but more importantly because they are collaborative, generative, and not afraid to take bold leaps.”

The festivities also feature a pop-up market highlighting the works of local Black artisans and vendors. Additionally, there will be screenings of four short films by local filmmakers, exploring themes of Black joy, Black liberation, and Black belonging.

The Juneteenth Experience 2024 is a series of three events that will take place in two different venues: the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach and the historic Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale.

“Celebrating Juneteenth isn’t just a way to commemorate this important piece of history; it is an annual honoring of our ancestors and the freedoms they afforded us,” says Rowley.

The celebration encourages the principles of Black freedom, hope, liberation, and joy year-round.

What: Arsht Center’s Juneteenth Juke Joint; FIU Juneteenth events; The Juneteenth Experience 2024

Where: Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th St., Miami (Modesto campus), and 3000 NE 151st St., North Miami (Biscayne Bay); Hued Songs, The Colony Theatre in Miami Beach at 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, and The Parker Playhouse, 707 NE 8th St., Fort Lauderdale.

When: Arsht Center’s Juneteenth Juke Joint, 7:30 p.m., Thursday, June 13; FIU Juneteenth events, June 12-19; The Juneteenth Experience 2024, June 14-19

Cost: Arsht Center’s Juneteenth Juke Joint, $45; FIU Juneteenth events, free; The Juneteenth Experience 2024, Wells Hall at The Parker, June 14, $25-$90; Colony Theatre, June 18-19, $31.50-$51.50 

Information: ; and  

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