MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Organizers of the annual Juneteenth Urban Music Festival say they’ll be holding virtual celebrations in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
This year’s Juneteenth celebration won’t look the same, but that won’t stop Memphians from celebrating the day the final slaves were freed on June 19th, 1865.
“Juneteenth is an important part of our history, and so many people, unfortunately, still don’t know what Juneteenth means,” said Telica Franklin with the Juneteenth Urban Music Festival.
This year’s virtual celebration has opened the door for organizers to raise awareness. The event will be held at http://www.memphisjuneteenth.com/.
“This is going to be a great chance for the families to tell their families, ‘hey let’s celebrate Juneteenth virtually,'” Franklin said.
They want to connect families to history while honoring those carrying that legacy.
It’s what led event planner Cynthia Daniels to create a virtual Juneteenth shop black event spotlighting black-owned businesses.
“I thought I needed to create bigger platform so people still could virtually shop with them and that’s how it kind of came about,” Daniels said. “With Juneteenth being right around the corner, I thought what better way than to significantly celebrate that day and help people be intentional about shopping black.”
Jennifer Purnell is one of the 50 local businesses that will participate.
“Having this event on this day not only speaks to our community but also to the generations before that worked very hard to make it possible for us to own businesses and thrive in that way,” said Purnell, who owns September Nail Salon.
She plans to highlight online products as a way to rebound from being closed due to COVID-19.
“Having the opportunity to possibly get some of that lost revenue back means a lot,” Purnell said, “because it means not only are we able to make it as a business but hopefully able to thrive even after this.”
Both organizers want to emphasize this event is for everyone.