Juneteenth may not be a well known holiday to many, but its historic importance to our nation is great. The holiday celebrates the abolishment of slavery in America, and West Michigan Royal Roots Entertainment plans to celebrate the spirit of Juneteenth with West Michigan’s Royal Afro-Fest tomorrow afternoon in Sigsbee Park. The event runs from noon to 5:15 p.m. and features live performances, local vendors, spoken word poetry, Zumba and special headline performances by musicians J Poww and U.N.V. The event is dedicated to celebrating African American culture within the Grand Rapids community.
The Collegiate spoke with Royal Roots Entertainment Event Coordinator Darmesha Glover about the celebration.
“What the day of this event is gonna consist of is gonna be performers, and what the performers consist of is like older classic music, and we have newer age things,” Glover said. “We also have a couple…more traditional things within the culture.”
“We’re gonna have a couple organizations with the youth as well. We want to make sure this will be as diverse as possible and make sure that everybody feels comfortable with this event, and to celebrate the black community overall.”
Glover later commented on the event’s significance to the Grand Rapids community.
“This is very much needed,” she said. “The whole reason we actually started this is because we saw that…there is not enough spaces provided for black people in the Grand Rapids community. And it is a thriving city. You can see it’s advancing continuously…I don’t even wanna say each year you can see it’s happening monthly.”
“We are just seeing all these developments in the city, and there isn’t space for black people. So if we aren’t gonna be invited to the table, let’s make our own table. We’ll bring our own chairs.”
“This being our first event was just kind of like our gift to the community. Like ‘Hey – we care about you. You do matter. There is space provided for you.’ So that’s why we just wanna gift this and come out and celebrate your blackness and don’t feel like you have to hide it.”
Royal Roots Afro Fest begins at noon tomorrow, June 30, with an invocation. For more details on the event’s performances, special giveaways, and specific schedule, an image of the event planner is provided below.