BWW Previews: Juneteenth with Boston's Theatre Artists
With all of the violence being inflicted on the Black community right now, Friday, June 19 (Juneteenth, the celebration of the date that word of the Emancipation Proclamation finally made it to Galveston, Texas) has a lot of offerings from Black artists in the Boston theatre community. As one artist explained, "Basically I'm currently focused on Black joy and celebrating us in the wake of our being hunted in the streets."
Appropriately, the Front Porch Arts Collective has stepped up to their mission of "celebrating and programming for Black artists and audiences" with a compilation of an impressive 10-day virtual offering. For Friday, their website boasts events which span from noon til 9:30 and range from poetry readings by local, Black writers, concerts of new works by Black composers, lectures, play readings, and more. The resource includes links to an impressive smattering of platforms and registration forms from such institutions as the Boston Public Library, Homesick Play Project, The Theatre Offensive, Porter Square Books, and the Museum of Fine Arts. Avid theatergoers can even find ways to order spicy delicacies from Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor in Dorchester to enjoy as they tune in to Hayley Spivey's The Birch Prep Five or Jabari Asim's Stop and Frisk.
The Porch's offerings continue through the weekend and include a virtual Zumba class with Yewande Odetoyinbo (whom audiences will recognize perhaps for her recent acclaimed performance in Caroline, Or Change or for her co-choreography for the Boston premiere of Choir Boy), a sketch comedy performance by The JEANPAULBROS, and an online healing session exclusively for self-identifying Black artists.
More information can be found on their website here.
For those able to leave their homes, there are several marches, protests, and rallies all over the city organized in solidarity with Black lives. One event which may be of particular interest to Boston's theatre scene is a Black Trans Pride March hosted by The Black Lotus. This highly-hyped and widely elusive event will feature live performances, spoken word poetry, and a local DJ. While organizers are keeping details tight to ensure safety, interested attendees are asked to download the free, encrypted messaging app Telegram and to follow T.ME/THEBLACKLOTUSFEED for further details about location and time.
For those wishing to dance the night away in the comfort of their own homes, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (that's ICAB, not ACAB) is offering Freedom Fête: A Virtual Juneteenth Celebration. This dance celebration will highlight music styles influenced by Black culture as hosted by DJs from across the country, including Boston's own EARTHACLITT.
More information and a link to join on their website here.
Whether marching, dancing, listening, watching, tasting, singing, or healing, there are so many options for how we can choose to spend this Juneteenth. Hopefully, this holiday will give space for some of the most endangered people in our city to rejoice in the ways they make our world a better place.