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Weekend In Entertainment: Juneteenth Celebrations Abound In Charlotte

Charlotte skyline
James Willamore
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It’s time to see what’s happening in the Queen City for the weekend. A lot of entertainment venues are still closed due to the pandemic, but there are creative virtual and other events going on. We’re going to talk a lot about events for Juneteenth, which is Friday.

That’s when enslaved Africans in Texas learned they were free — long after the rest of the country — and it is being celebrated in a lot of different ways this weekend.

It’s Thursday, and that means CLT After Dark. And Sunday is Father’s Day: What about an outdoor brunch with dad?

Katrina Louis, managing editor of QCityMetro joins us to talk about these events.

Gwendolyn Glenn: Welcome back, Katrina.

Katrina Louis: Hey, Gwen, how you doing?

Glenn: I'm good. Well, a lot of people are taking the day off to celebrate Juneteenth. And on Friday, there is an all-day Juneteenth family day celebration at the Levine Museum of the New South. Tell us about it.

Louis: They'll have online performances that will talk about the history of Juneteenth. There will be some spoken word performances, and then they'll have a drumming circle as well as some poetry and storytelling.

Glenn: And where can folks join in on that?

Louis: So if you check out the Levine Museum of the New South's YouTube page or Facebook page, you'll be able to join in on the virtual celebration.

Glenn: OK. Now, there is also the three-day Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas. It's been going on for about 23 years at the House of Africa in Plaza Midwood. How are they doing it this year?

Louis: Typically, that event takes over a lot of the Plaza Midwood neighborhood — several blocks — but due to safety concerns around the pandemic, they've scaled it back down to outside of House of Africa along Thomas Avenue. You'll have a drum circle. They'll have different presentations about Juneteenth taken from the perspective of the organizer, Pape Ndiaye, who's originally from Senegal, west Africa. So there is a lot of cultural presentations that will be included.

Glenn: And Katrina, they are asking people to wear masks. Like you say, a lot of it is outside for safety. Also, the Juneteenth Freedom Bike Ride and the Brooklyn History Juneteenth Bike Ride are going on. Are they associated with that festival?

Louis: Yes, they are part of the larger festival. So the Freedom Bike Ride is from 1-3 p.m. on Friday and it starts at Elizabeth Avenue. And then you'll have a Brooklyn History Juneteenth Bike Ride that starts at 6:30 p.m. at Marshall Park, and it will tour the Brooklyn neighborhood. It's one of the oldest African American communities in Charlotte.

Glenn: And you can't leave cars out. Tell us about the Beatties Ford Road event.

Louis: It's called the Juneteenth Liberation Dragsters Celebration, and that kicks off at 6:30 p.m. and it's going to happen along the Beatties Ford Road corridor, so it's going to start at LaSalle Street and they're going to ride north to the I-85 interchange. Different community organizations are going to decorate cars and drive down the street and they're going to be sharing information about the different services that they provide. So you can hang out along Beatties Ford Road and see the celebration.

Glenn: Well, let's shift to some music coming up.


Glenn: Katrina, that was from the Tosco Music Party held last month. And another one is coming up this weekend, right?

Louis: The Tosco Music Party. It is their virtual event and that's happening at 8 o'clock. You can check that out on their Facebook page, their YouTube channel and crowdcast, but it's a benefit concert and, you know, the music community, with the events being shut down has had some challenges. So this is a way to help support those artists and those creatives.

Glenn: And I understand they raised about $20,000 during the first one.

Louis: They did, and nearly 300 donors helped reach that goal. So, after covering expenses, 70% of those funds raised supported the musicians who performed and the COVID Relief Fund.

Glenn: Great cause. We'll hear some music from another online music event that happens every Thursday night -- tonight.


Glenn: That's from a past CLT After Dark.

Louis: It's a variety show, so it featured local musicians. There's some comedy, some theater troupes, dance. You can check them out on their Facebook page and CLTafterdark.com.

Glenn: There's also the Charlotte Black Film Festival that started on June 14 and it ends on Sunday. How has that changed due to the pandemic?

Louis: It has gone virtual this year. This is a way to check out different web series. There's documentaries, films created by women, and they have a whole schedule of films to check out on their website, charlotteblackfilmfestival.com.

Glenn: And finally, we can't forget Father's Day is Sunday, and the Charlotte Knights are opening up Truist Field for dads Saturday and Sunday. Give us the 411 on this.

Louis: On Saturday, they have an eat and play event happening at the ballpark. There'll be music, there'll be trivia. There's some cornhole happening. Just something to get out and enjoy the weather with your dad this weekend. And then on Sunday, there is the Father's Day brunch, and gates open at 10 a.m. for that. And you can grab a photo on the field with a baseball backdrop, and also you can play a game of catch on the mound.

Glenn: Great. Well, dads deserve it? Katrina, thanks for being with us for this edition of Weekend in Entertainment.

Louis: Thanks for having me on.

Glenn: Katrina Lewis is the managing editor for QCityMetro.

Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.