On June 19th, over 30,000 people migrated to the historically Black neighborhood of Leimert Park in South Los Angeles. The Leimert Park Juneteenth Celebration honored the emancipation of enslaved Black people in the United States that came before us with love, music, and community.
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With an Amazon-sponsored stage of global stars, a Black business marketplace that spanned miles, a collaborative showcase stage of L.A.’s newest up-and-coming artists from Pray for the Hood x Party in my Living room, a roller rink sponsored by Mcdonald’s, and so much more, the festival was more extensive than most could have imagined.
For nine hours, the festival ran without incident. DJs kept the crowd moving and grooving as they played everything from “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly and Maze to “I Just Want To Rock” by Lil Uzi Vert. There was a smile that wouldn’t leave everyone’s face. As I watched families skating, friends joining open basketball matches, and strangers complimenting each other, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the beautiful energy that engulfed the space.
Around 2:30 pm, an influx of people showed up to the festival due to the miscommunication of set times. While a wave of fans made their way to the PFTH stage for a performance from Leimert Park’s own G2, others went to find the best spot to see Jazmine Sullivan on the Amazon stage.
Unfortunately, we never got to see Jazmine Sullivan perform that day. Here is why.
After a soulful performance from Alex Vaughn on the Amazon Stage, I ran to PFTH to catch Casey Veggies and Zyah Bell before the crowd kept me from hopping around anywhere but the main stage. Looking back now, I can see how logistically the stage placement was not the best, but then, all I could think about was seeing Too $hort perform hit after hit, against some of the older folk’s wishes, turning up to the site of people dancing on the Pizza Hut building and waiting for Wale to drop Lotus Flower Bomb.
Not too long after Wale took his bow, the commotion began. Counsel woman Heather Hutt tried calming antsy minds by having all in attendance chant, “We gonna behave on this Juneteenth.” Still, a group started running shortly after, and LAPD shut down the event for safety reasons.
So yes, no one got to see Jazmine Sullivan, but festival-goers and community members still gave rave reviews about their experience. No one was seriously harmed, besides a McDonald’s cash register, and that I am pleased about. I am excited to see how the festival grows next year. Until then, a photo gallery.
There is nothing like a Juneteenth celebration in Leimert Park.