Celebrate Juneteenth at the Long Beach Waterfront
(LONG BEACH, CA – May 18, 2022) What is fast becoming Southern California’s premiere Juneteenth event returns on June 18 with a daylong celebration of Black culture and history at the heart of the Long Beach waterfront, Rainbow Lagoon (400 E. Shoreline Dr.). Communities throughout the region are invited to the Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration, commemorating the end of slavery and celebrating Black culture with a lineup of mainstage performances and an event campus featuring family-friendly activities, vendors, food and drink. Community groups, nonprofits, churches, and city departments alike are participating in various activations throughout the festival campus. The celebration takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. UPDATE: Advance admission tickets are now sold out!
“The Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration is about joyfully celebrating Black culture, honoring our history, and creating a space for community unity,” said Carl Kemp, founder and producer of the festival. “We will take folks on a journey through Black culture, starting with African drums and dance, and ending with A-list R&B musicians and everything in between.”
“Amazon is committed to celebrating the Black community and Black culture,” said Marie Lloyd, head of Community Affairs for Amazon in Southern California. “We are proud to once again stand with and support Long Beach in the celebration of Juneteenth. This is a day to reflect on the progress we’ve made, but also to recognize that we have much work to do as a company and a society. We want to listen, engage and take action, together.”
“I am overjoyed to sponsor the Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration again this year,” said Wayne Chaney Jr., Lead Pastor of Antioch Church of Long Beach, which is just minutes away in Downtown Long Beach. “I know Carl’s personal journey and commitment to making this vision from God a reality, and I believe with all my heart that this will become one of our city’s biggest events, bringing dignity and joy to all who participate.”
“We are thrilled to welcome the Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration to the waterfront this year,” said Steve Goodling, President & CEO of the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This free event will bring our community together with music, dancing, and activities for all ages. We hope you will join us for this joyous celebration of Black culture.”
At the center of the event is a mainstage lineup of performances by well-known jazz and R&B artists, a step show by Black fraternities and sororities from Cal State Long Beach, the Antioch mass gospel choir, drum lines and so much more. Headlining is singer-songwriter Marsha Ambrosius, founding member of the R&B duo Floetry, with additional performances by Rahsaan Patterson, Katalyst Jazz, and Gee Mack & Asia Raye.
The festival footprint at Rainbow Lagoon will include a Kings & Queens Village with children’s activities supported by the YMCA of Greater Long Beach, food trucks with everything from chicken and waffles, to Cajun food, desserts, and drinks sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, and much more.
Attendees are encouraged to visit an onsite interactive display of historic artifacts by Forgotten Images, a traveling Black history museum, to learn more about the Black experience in America and the origins of Juneteenth. “Forgotten Images provides a unique opportunity for folks to see and touch the shackles and manacles, balls and chains, and various remnants of what it was like to be enslaved in America,” said Kemp. “They give the community an up close and personal look at Black history while at the same time celebrating our potential.”
For more details and updates, visit www.lbjuneteenth.com and follow @lbjuneteenth on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
The Origins of the Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration
Founded by Kemp in 2021, the Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration is a living legacy of the grassroots celebrations that came before it, with the torch passed by Black community leaders in the city over the years. “I believe the first Juneteenth celebration in Long Beach was produced by Connie Odin, a former city employee with the Parks, Marine and Recreation Department and beloved member of the community,” Kemp said, noting that Odin is a former coworker of his. Celebrations have also been organized over the years by former Vice Mayor Dee Andrews, Councilwoman Laura Richardson, Councilman Jim Wilson, the NAACP and community leader John Malveaux.
Kemp’s personal history with Juneteenth began when he was incarcerated in 2017. “It was meaningful for me that I celebrated this holiday dedicated to Black freedom when I was Black and not free,” he reflected. “We made speeches, and had music and food and fellowship. It was an opportunity for us to experience some joy in a place where there wasn’t a whole lot available.”
In 2020, Kemp consulted with Pastor Wayne Chaney, Jr., head of Antioch Church of Long Beach, about creating a Juneteenth celebration in the city’s downtown core. With support from trailblazer sponsor the Downtown Long Beach Alliance and the participation and volunteerism of community groups like Care Closet, Kemp produced and held the first largescale Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration on June 19, 2021.
Having the event on Pine Avenue last year and now at the waterfront is special for Kemp, who noted that it is a new experience to have an event celebrating Black culture in the city’s entertainment and tourism core. “We are going to change that by holding this celebration every single year at a higher and higher level for the betterment of the entire city,” said Kemp. “I truly believe that this event stands to be one of the premiere events in Long Beach.”
About Juneteenth: Declared a national holiday in 2021, Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, which took place two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law. Without Union forces present, Texas had resisted freeing the enslaved until the arrival of Major General Gordon Granger in Galveston on June 19, 1865. Arriving with the news that the war had ended and slaves must be set free – and with the influence of General Robert E. Lee absent since his surrender that April – slavery was finally put to an end.
Sponsors of the Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration: Trailblazer sponsors include Amazon, Antioch Church of Long Beach, the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Long Beach Convention &
Entertainment Center. Jubilee sponsors include Boeing, California State University Long Beach, Disneyland, and the Port of Long Beach. Spirit of Juneteenth sponsors include Anheuser-Busch Sales & Distribution Co., Catalyst Cannabis Co., Los Angeles Metro, Long Beach Partners of Parks, and Wealth Management Financial Advisors. Ally sponsors include Long Beach Councilmember Al Austin, the Downtown Long Beach Alliance, Edison International, and Marathon.