Celebrate Juneteenth in Metro Detroit with These Events

Festivals, film screenings, art exhibits, and many more ways to observe the 156th anniversary of Emancipation Day
Juneteenth - distinct life
Yolanda (left) and Rick Williams of Distinct Life are hosting Inspire Week — a lineup of events that include the launch of their latest collab with Puma and a Juneteenth party. // Photograph courtesy of Distinct Life 

June 19 marks the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth. Originating in Texas, the day honors the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans in the post-Civil War South and is now a recognized holiday in 47 states. This year, metro Detroiters can observe the historic day with film screenings, panel discussions, art exhibitions, street festivals, and family activities that highlight the vibrancy of the area’s Black community.

Inspire Week 2021

Distinct Life, a Detroit-based creative agency helmed by Husband-and-wife duo and Cream Blends founders Yolanda and Rick Williams, is hosting a full schedule of events during the week of Juneteenth. An adult skating party at Northland Skating Rink is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tomorrow. On Friday, the agency will debut its second collaborative collection with Puma at Foot Locker in Eastpointe. Inspire Week concludes on Saturday at Detroit’s St. Regis Hotel with the launch of the Distinct Life store. A Juneteenth party will follow at Spotlite Detroit. For a full schedule of events, visit Distinct Life’s website. No cost. Through June 19; register online. Multiple locations; distinctlife.com/inspire/

Juneteenth Black Business Crawl

The Metro-Detroit Black Business Alliance is hosting a scavenger hunt to celebrate Juneteenth and support the businesses on its Hastings St. Index, a directory dedicated to local Black-owned businesses. Those who want to participate can simply visit one of MDBBA’s social media accounts to download a player card, which features to-do items like “purchase a beverage from an MDBBA member” and “refer five or more friends to a beauty/grooming business of your choice.” Complete five items by June 20 and post proof of your actions on social media for a chance to win MDBBA gift baskets. June 16-20. No cost; register online. Multiple locations; eventbrite.com

Juneteenth Film Festival

This month, Emagine Royal Oak is featuring special movie screenings for its Juneteenth Film Festival. The lineup of movies — which this week includes Get Out, Ray, and Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse — showcase Black actors, actresses, writers, directors, and filmmakers. The proceeds from the festival’s tickets go to the United Negro College Fund. A complete list of showtimes can be found on the Emagine website. $5. Through the week of June 25. Emagine Royal Oak, 200 N. Main Street, Royal Oak; 248-414-1000; emagine-entertainment.com

 Juneteenth Jubilee Freedom Weekend

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is kicking off its Juneteenth weekend programming at 7 p.m. on Friday in Campus Martius Park with a free screening of Concrete Cowboy, starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin. On Saturday, in conjunction with Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit, Motor City Business Round Table, and the Avenue of Fashion Business Association, the museum will co-host the Juneteenth Jubilee Stroll on Detroit’s historic Avenue of Fashion. The stroll will feature shopping, pop-up artists, musical performances, food, and more — all with an emphasis on Black-owned businesses. For those who wish to observe Juneteenth in a more socially distant fashion, the museum is hosting a scavenger hunt featuring numerous Detroit sites that have significant ties to Black history and culture. The answer key will be posted on Juneteenth. A full schedule of events can be found on the museum’s website. No cost. June 18-20. Multiple locations; thewright.org/events 

WCTF 2021 Juneteenth Celebration

The University of Michigan’s Women of Color Task Force is hosting a virtual Juneteenth celebration featuring panel discussions and keynote speakers. Topics will include global perspectives on cross-cultural experiences, workplace inclusion, and intercultural solidarity. No cost; register online. June 18. Virtual event; eventbrite.com

Juneteenth Celebration

Good Vibes Lounge in Detroit, known for its themed brunches and signature cocktails, will celebrate its first anniversary on Juneteenth. The event will feature the launch of the lounge’s new outdoor space, dubbed “The Backyard,” where guests can enjoy free drink samples, Juneteenth merch, and beats from a live DJ. To capture the memory, a photo booth will be available. No cost for entrance. June 19. Good Vibes Lounge, 16801 Harper Ave., Detroit; 313-499-8127; gvlounge.com 

Juneteenth in Detroit Family Day

Hosted by Hattie Girl Ice Cream and Foods and Juneteenth Detroit Festival, the 11th annual family-friendly event will take place at noon on Saturday and will feature food, games, and music in Maheras-Gentry Park on the Detroit River. No cost; email juneteenthdetroitfest19@gmail.com to register. June 19. Maheras-Gentry Park, 12550 Avondale St., Detroit; facebook.com/events

Juneteenth Mobility Stroll & Roll

Dearborn’s City Hall Park serves as the meeting point for this inaugural Juneteenth celebration that will honor the social mobility challenges historically faced by the Black community. The event, which starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, invites attendees to walk or “roll” on bikes, skateboards, or roller skates and will feature speakers, music, activities, vendors, a kids’ zone, and even voter registration booths. No cost; register online. June 19. City Hall Park, 13615 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; events.getlocalhop.com

Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom Art Expo

ZAB Cultural Collective, a contemporary art gallery and coworking space in Detroit, is hosting this local artist showcase in observance of Juneteenth. The indoor/outdoor event goes from noon until 5 p.m. on Saturday. No cost. June 19. ZAB Cultural Collective, 16927 E. Warren Ave., Detroit; 800-679-2208; facebook.com/events

Juneteenth Exhibitions

Collected Detroit is launching two new exhibitions this Saturday in celebration of Juneteenth. The exhibits, entitled B.A.M.: My Art is My Voice and Sisters of the Cloth, will pay homage to the struggles of Black artists and celebrate their significance in Detroit’s art community. A reception will follow the launch of the exhibits, which will remain on display until July 19. No cost; RSVP online. June 19. Collected Detroit, 2439 Fourth St., Detroit; 313-656-4190; collecteddetroit.com

Juneteenth at Corner Ballpark

Round out the weekend with a Juneteenth celebration that includes a gourmet meal, desserts, and an open bar. Guests will also enjoy live entertainment, performances, and appearances by special guests. $70 for general admission; $25 for those 21-and-under. June 20. The Corner Ballpark, 1680 Michigan Ave., Detroit; eventbrite.com

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