Virtual Juneteenth Music Festival

By Zilingo Nwuke

Facemasks, rubber gloves, and hand sanitizer have been necessities around the world for the past few months. Lockdowns being administered across the globe have forced people inside their homes. Malls are shutdown, courthouses are closed, and gyms have been forced to lock their doors. 

In fact, the only businesses that have been allowed to stay open are gas stations, grocery stores, hospitals and other businesses that have been deemed an essential. People have been prohibited from social gatherings of more than 10 people all over the planet. Despite the circumstances, JMF Corporation has managed to find a way around the pandemic to keep the celebration of Juneteenth, the celebration of African Americans freedom.

“People were really looking to be innovative and find solutions regardless of the situation that we are in.  We understand that it is very important for people to understand the meaning of Juneteenth and that message will always be stressed regardless of what we are going through as a nation or as a world,” said the Juneteenth Music Festival organizer Norman Harris.

This year, considering the current circumstances with COVID-19, the JMF Corporation has decided to host a Virtual Juneteenth Music Festival in Denver, which will broadcast Thursday, June 18 nationwide. It will be an online celebration of freedom. 

Included in the celebration will be a virtual comedy jam competition, a virtual barz cypher competition, a virtual buckdown dance competition and a virtual marketplace. People from all over will be able to tune in from anywhere, as long as they have a mobile device, computer, or tablet. It promises to be a celebration for all ages. JMF Corporation hopes to pull off a miracle to make this possible during this unfortunate and deadly pandemic.

“Despite the pandemic, we have worked to plan a way not only to celebrate Juneteenth, but also to continue to support the people who make Juneteenth what it is,” said Harris.

In addition to bringing the virtual Juneteenth celebration to life, JMF Corporation will provide a platform to help small businesses who may have been affected financially by COVID-19.

“This year we will host a virtual marketspace for all of our vendors, so they can still showcase all of their merchandise,” said Chris Banks, a member of the JMF Corporation planning team.

The first Virtual Juneteenth Music Festival will present a Juneteenth Virtual Marketplace where visitors can shop and purchase wares and merchandise of their choosing. This marketplace will support small business owners, or any businesses, that has been forced to close due to COVID-19. It will offer them another platform of opportunity to raise awareness for their business on a national level, providing more opportunities to sell their merchandise.

“We are excited to offer to our merchant database, along with some non-profit organizations, a platform to interact with the community,” said Harris. “There will be available plenty of items on sale to commemorate this historically significant day.”

Juneteenth is a very important day. Even though it is significant to the African American community, it should be important to everyone. It provides an opportunity to remind and educate the community the obstacles and barriers that were needed to cross to end the era of slavery; while providing a new and different life for African Americans.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865. On this day, after almost two and half years since the implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved African Americans were informed of their liberation from the slavery present in the former Confederate States of America. Texas was the most remote of the slave states, and the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, was not enforced there until after the Civil War had ended. The name of the observance is a blend of blend of “June” and “nineteenth,” the date of celebration.

African Americans are faced with more obstacles than others in America and the constant reminder is needed and it’s important to remember the day African Americans were deemed as freedom and also are citizens. The history of our ancestors needs to be remembered. And what better way this year than to celebrate Juneteenth virtually and share the message with the world.

Editor’s note: The first Virtual Juneteenth Music Festival will be held on Thursday, June 18 with a full day of programing. Information for livestreams can be found on For more information or to become a vendor, call Chris Banks at 720-505-3274 or like them on their Facebook at Juneteenth Music Festival.