*Los Angeles – Don’t ever allow anyone to tell that they are bored, there is nothing to do. This past weekend, June 18-19, 2016, there were three culturally enriching events that were vying for my time.

Due to time constraints, I stopped by Leimert Park Village, near Crenshaw and Vernon for the 7th Annual Juneteenth Heritage Festival. The festival was held on Saturday, June 18, and Sunday, June 19, 2016. This year’s theme was “Faith, Family and Global Future.”

Juneteenth Festival signage: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Juneteenth Festival signage: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

This was a free festival of family fun featuring African American theme activities in the Game Corner such as bid whist, spades, bones and chess and an old school Soul Train line honoring Don Cornelius and honoring the late great Whitney Houston.

The festival also featured fashion shows, live entertainment of jazz, spoken word, reggae and gospel music, praise dancing, Financial Tent, Tech Tent, Black Inventors Tent and delicious soul food to round out the day.

“Lovely Day” by Bill Withers was blaring through the speakers that served as the perfect anthem to kick off the annual Juneteenth Heritage Festival.

Brother Akil performed Libation to honor and pay respect to our Ancestors. Ms. Shantay Hinton, Miss USA 2002 and comedian/actor Keedar Whittle served as Master of Ceremonies.

Brother Akil: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Brother Akil: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Shantay Hinton and Keedar Kittle: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Shantay Hinton and Keedar Kittle: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The show jump into high gear with the opening set by B. Morris, making a return engagement to wow the crowd on the song “It’s Feels Good. Next up was Me’Shell conscious Christian rapper to give the Lord his Glory and Praise.

B Morris: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

B Morris: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Me'Shell: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Me’Shell: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

I’m always delighted and thrilled to laugh at the comedy of Leroya Sanford. She has a conscious awareness of life beyond her age. She treated the audience and I to two original poems entitled “So Unique” and “Action Speaks Louder Than Words.” The latter served as a perfect segue into her comedy routine with a political twist.

Leroya Sanford: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Leroya Sanford: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Unfortunately, this concluded my brief visit to partake in this culturally enriching festival before leaving for another pressing event several blocks away.

“Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, slavery continued in Texas until June 19, 1865, when word reached Galveston, Texas that all slaves in Texas were free. At the time, one third of the people in Texas were slaves.

Juneteenth celebration are held annual across the nation with picnics, barbecues, and festival at public emancipation grounds. Juneteenth became a legal state holiday in 1980 in Texas.

Today, Juneteenth is recognized nationwide as an African American Cultural Holiday.” (Source BlackFacts.com)

Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]

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