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"Juneteenth: The Movement" Concert Designed To Showcase Black Talent And Culture

Juneteenth: The Movement Hosts Cece Mitchell and Madison Ray
Lindsey Moon
Juneteenth: The Movement Hosts Cece Mitchell and Madison Ray

A preview of "Juneteenth: The Movement," a special holiday concert produced by IPR, xBk and Iowa PBS.

Iowa was the seventh state in the U.S. to officially recognize Juneteenth. When he was governor of Iowa, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack signed legislation making Juneteenth a holiday in 2002. It's been a day to celebrate the end of slavery in the U. S. since 1865 when a Union Army general delivered the Emancipation Proclamation to the residents of Texas.

Even though it's been a holiday since 2002 in Iowa, it's not traditionally been widely celebrated outside of the Black community.

"It was always this 'weird thing you people do.' Whether that’s true or not, that’s always the feeling I had," said Madison Ray, a Black musician living in Des Moines. "Really being able to stand up and proudly and boldly declare this holiday for the state is just a lot."

Juneteenth: The Movement - How to watch and listen:

Date: Saturday, June 19
Time: 7-9 p.m.

Iowa PBS: Tune into statewide Iowa PBS’s primary channel or livestream on iowapbs.org, pbs.org or the PBS Video App.
Iowa Public Radio: Tune into your local News/Studio One station (90.1 FM in Central Iowa, 90.9 FM in Eastern Iowa) or listen via iowapublicradio.org or the IPR app.
Online: Livestreaming on Iowa PBS, IPR and xBk YouTube channels and Facebook event.

Learn more atiowapbs.org,iowapublicradio.org and xbklive.com.

The federal government has not made Juneteenth a national holiday, but the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act was reintroduced to Congress in February of this year.

This year, IPR's Studio One is marking the holiday with "Juneteenth: The Movement" a two-hour, live concert special produced in collaboration with xBk, a Des Moines venue, and Iowa PBS. The concert will be broadcast on radio and television, and it will be streamed online through Facebook and YouTube. The event is designed to showcase Iowa musical and spoken word performers: Andre Davis, Emmett Phillips, Entre Luche, James Tutson, Rae Fehring, Spayce, Rated G, Tina Haase Findlay and Young Old Soul.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe gets a preview of the concert from hosts Madison Ray and IPR's Cece Mitchell.

Later in the program, Nebbe checks in with two Black Iowans who run music venues in the state about their work to keep their stages going after the COVID-19 pandemic made business nearly impossible. Tobi Parks, the owner of xBk in Des Moines,and Andre Perry, the executive director of The Englert Theatre in Iowa City, talk about their advocacy with the National Independent Venue Association to get federal aid for these hard-hit spaces.

"We are hanging on by a thread right now," Parks said. "That funding needs to come as fast as humanly possible. Because every month that expenses are coming is another month a venue is, unfortunately, closing its doors."

Guests (by order of appearance):

  • Cece Mitchell, IPR Studio One Host and co-host of Juneteenth: The Movement
  • Madison Ray, plays in The Finesse and co-host of Juneteenth: The Movement
  • Tobi Parks, owner of xBk in Des Moines, NIVA Foundation board member
  • Andre Perry, executive director of the Englert Theatre, on the National Independent Venue Association Board
  • Sophia Eris and DJ Keezy, co-owners and operators of Auntie's in the Twin Cities, a virtual but soon-to-be actual club. Eris recently released a new single.
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer
Zachary Oren Smith is a reporter covering Eastern Iowa