Basie Center sets free community Juneteenth celebration for June 14

— The Count Basie Center for the Arts will hold a community Juneteenth celebration on Wednesday, June 14 at The Vogel, located at 99 Monmouth Street in Red Bank. Entry is free with a $10 suggested donation.

Italy Lee
Poet and performer Italy Lee will be part of the Basie Center’s community Juneteenth celebration.

The community celebration will feature a performance by the Count Basie Center Gospel Choir, led by director Gwen Moten. A theatrical presentation of Moten’s life story, From Birmingham to Botswana, will open the evening’s festivities.

Also performing on June 14:

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company’s Red Bank community;
Italy Lee, 2022 state champion of the national Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Out Loud recitation competition;
• Vocalist and Jersey Shore musical luminary Layonne Holmes;
• Percussionist and educator Ty Laws;
Pastor Terrence Porter of Red Bank’s Pilgrim Baptist Church;
• Hosts Jaz Graham and Delisha Grant.

As notes, Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. On June 17, 2021, it officially became a federal holiday.

The Basie Center celebration is one of two events commemorating Juneteenth in Red Bank; on Sunday, June 18, the borough’s official Juneteenth commemoration will feature live jazz performances, guest speakers, food trucks, giveaways and more. The free event takes place from 1-4PM at Johnny Jazz Park, located at the corner of Drs. James Parker Blvd and Shrewsbury Avenue.

For more information on these and other community Juneteenth celebrations, visit the Culture and Community Calendar page at