SoCal Juneteenth Celebrations and Happenings 2021

Watch Jocelyn Bioh’s one-act play in The Wallis and Black Rebirth Collective’s “Unmasked”

June 19 marks the day that enslaved Black people in the South were granted their freedom and it has become a day of remembrance and awareness in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. Southern California communities will come together in celebration this weekend with arts and cultural events that help to broaden Black awareness and appreciation.

Black Arts Los Angeles
12th Annual Juneteenth Heritage Festival
June 19. For over a decade the nonprofit organization, Black Arts Los Angeles, has hosted the Juneteenth Heritage Festival in South Los Angeles. This year the arts and music festival is going virtual with special performance by LA Big Daddy’s. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free.

The Old Globe
Juneteenth Celebration
June 19. The Old Globe, in collaboration with the George L. Stevens Senior Center, presents the fifth annual performance presentation as part of the Center’s annual Juneteenth festival event. Taking place in the Globe’s outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, Gill Sotu hosts this free outdoor celebration featuring performances by the San Diego Black Artist Collective, David Dredden and Undefeated, Alyce Smith Cooper, Kree Rushing and Shariff Simmons. Noon-1:15 p.m. Free with RSVP.

Pomona Valley
31st Pomona Valley Juneteenth Jazz & Arts Festival Live + Virtual
June 19. This annual family festival features special performances by Klymaxx, Kari Taylor, Lloyd Huggins Ojie & Songbyrd, Aimee Nolte, Anjee Byrd, JazzZone/JaZzabration and the inaugural appearance of Poet Laureate of Pomona, David Oliver Judah. See website for full schedule. 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Free. Ganesha Park, 1575 White Ave., Pomona.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts/Institute of Black Intellectual Innovation
Freedom in Full Bloom: A Juneteenth Celebration
June 19. Segerstrom Center for the Arts partnered with the Institute of Black Intellectual Innovation to host its first ever Juneteenth celebration in the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza. The celebration of Black innovation and music will include an afternoon of activities, performances, poetry and visual art. 3-7 p.m. $10 per pod (6 per pod). 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.

Skylight LIVE
A Look Back/A Look Forward
June 21. Join Skylight Theatre for the first in a series of three events celebrating Juneteenth. A Look Back/A Look Forward is a panel discussion with Black and Brown theatre practitioners who will address the racism of this past year and the what an anti-racist and equitable theatre community looks like for the future. 7 p.m. Free with RSVP required. Tickets |

Skylight LIVE
We’re Not Free, Until We’re All Free
June 23. Join Skylight Theatre for the second program in a series of three events celebrating Juneteenth and be part of the collective voice that recognizes that we all must be liberated. This panel seeks to center other marginalized voices and identities in the theatre community. 7 p.m. Free with RSVP required. Tickets |

Skylight LIVE
June 26. Join Skylight Theatre for the final program in a series of three events commemorating Juneteenth and explore and discover “What is Black Joy?” through curated performances, meditation and an intentional future. 3 p.m. Free with RSVP required. Tickets

Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts/Black Rebirth Collective
Unmasked: A Theatrical Celebration of Black Women’s Liberation
June 19-July 4. In celebration of Juneteenth, Unmasked features one-act plays by four of the country’s preeminent voices in American theater: Dominique Morisseau (Tony Award-nominated book writer, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations), Jocelyn Bioh (School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play), Ngozi Anyanwu (Good Grief) and Stacy Osei-Kuffour (“Watchmen”). Streaming. $19 per household.

The Fountain Theatre
An Octoroon
Through Sept. 13. 
The Los Angeles premiere of An Octoroon, a radical, incendiary and subversively funny Obie award-winning play by MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” recipient Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, inaugurates the new outdoor stage at The Fountain Theatre. A spectacular collision of the antebellum South and 21st century cultural politics, An Octoroon is a gasp-inducing deconstruction of a moustache-twirling melodrama by 19th century playwright Dion Boucicault that twists a funhouse world of larger-than-life stereotypes into blistering social commentary. See website for schedule. $25-$45. 5060 Fountain Ave., L.A.

Photo credits: Jocelyn Bioh “White-N-Luscious” courtesy Wallis.


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