#Juneteenth 2017 Was A Revolution!

Matthew addresses the audience at Juneteenth. Phot Credit: Afrocentered Media

2017 marked the 5 year anniversary of Epicenter Community’s #Juneteenth Takeover at the Museum of Fine Arts . This year, we wanted to focus on the theme of #revolution, through music, dance, poetry and artistry to make our 5 year celebration even more amazing than it was last year. Doors opened at 5pm and within an hour hundreds of you joined us for our Opening welcome in the Shapiro Courtyard.

By the end of the night, we had over 5,000 people from our communities come to the MFA to celebrate #Juneteenth2017 with us.

Matthew Teitelbaum, the director of the MFA, opened up the event with a speech about the importance of diversity and cultural history. “The MFA is yours,” he reminded the audience. “It belongs to you…please come back and visit!”

Our president, Malia Lazu, was up next. She addressed the duality of having a holiday that stands for both black liberation and enslavement. #Juneteenth, she reminded the audience, has many layers. “What’s important is that we have come together on this day to celebrate our humanity with joy and with community”.

“What’s important is that we have come together on this day to celebrate our humanity with joy and with community”.
Malia Lazu’s Opening Remarks. Photo Credit: PEACE

The honorable Napoleon Jones Henderson spoke after Malia to insist upon the inherent revolution in #art and how black art is revolutionary because it changes the cultural landscape

Our timeless favorite U-Meleni Mhlaba- Adebo of The U-Meleni Experience then led the audience into a beautiful trance of song, accompanied by her full band. People from the audience joined in the dancing in the spirit of celebration! Afterwards, we had amazing performances by OrgiNation Cultural Arts Center and their dancers of all age groups.

The rest of the night was absolutely incredible! In the Calderwood Courtyard, we had the beautiful singer, Ashley Tishana, accompanied by an acoustic set to set the mood as artists Kenyatta Blue & Soraia Melicio worked on their live arts piece.

Kenyatta Blue Creating His Piece. Photo Credit: Afrocentered Media
City Talk Panelists discussing art and revolution

Our City Talks Panel, moderated by Terry of Intelligent Mischief, posed the questions “How Can Art be Revolutionary?” and “How Can We Create Revolution through our art?” Panel members Stephen Hamilton, Catherine Morris of BAMSfest and Stephanie Guirand of Black Lives Matter Cambridge weighed in with their own opinions and advice to the audience of artists of color.

Roxbury Film Festival screend two transformative new short films during #Juneteenth: “When Voices Rise…” and “Paris Noir, African Americans In The City Of Light”.

Our Open Mic was a new edition to this year’s programming and we had an incredible turnout! Timothy Hall of HipStory performed and moderated the Open Mic which featured artists like ANSON RAP$, Makeda, Jourdan Christopher, Oompa, Didi Delgado and Ashley Rose Solomon. Plenty of poets from the audience decided to jump on the mic and throw down for our Juneteenth guests.

Didi Delgado performing at Juneteenth’s Open Mic. Photo Credit: Afrocentered Media
Audience at the Open Mic. Photo Credit: Afrocentered Media

Sinha Capoeira closed our Juneteenth in the Shapiro Courtyard with two uplifting and entrancing dance performances. Their performers, dressed all in white, evoked the spirit of the fusion of Afr0 Brazilian dance. Their performances filled the Shapiro Courtyard by the end of the night.

Photo Credit

Thank you to all of our community partners who made Juneteenth possible this year!

  • Transformative Culture Project
  • Haley House Bakery And Cafe
  • Sydney Janey Designs
  • KillerBoomBox
  • Kelley Chun & Associates
  • Wonder Women of Boston
  • Laced
  • Xperience Creative
  • GrubStreet
  • DigBoston
  • #makeBREAD
  • YearUp
  • Workbar
  • Obehi Janice
  • MALC
  • Minority Business Expo
  • LiteWork Events
  • KickBack Boston
  • The Fab Empire
  • Northeatern Crossing
  • Dudley Dough

See you at #Juneteenth2018!