By Rhyan Nile, Feature Writer
Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, became a federal holiday as of June 17, 2021. June 19th is the day the proclamation of freedom for enslaved people in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, was commemorated. Having this day become an official holiday is monumental because the Black community can celebrate the freedom they have now and their families’ past generations. What is freedom? We tend to forget what that word means… Freedom is the POWER or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. The key word was power. Black culture now has the power to freely be proud of their culture and where they come from—the power to sing their songs and tell their own stories—the power to just be themselves without explanation.
Kevin Johnson, former NBA player and mayor of Sacramento has relocated to the heart of California, Los Angeles. He has opened a Soul food restaurant called “Fixins” in downtown LA by the Crypto Stadium. Johnson knew he wanted to have the restaurant be used for the representation of the Black community and all that it stands for. “When we signed the lease seven months ago, to open “Fixins Soul Kitchen,” we asked them if we have two events a year at L.A. Live, one during Black History Month, and one for Juneteenth. The Black History Month event was successful and the Juneteenth event is twice as successful. Johnson put on an event at the L.A. Live, Saturday, June 18, 2022, to celebrate Juneteenth and it was an outstanding turnout. Johnson created this “cookout” like atmosphere which was perfect for the occasion given that is the way Black culture chooses to celebrate the majority of the time. There were pop-up stands with food and bar tasting from “Fixins”, flowers, and Juneteenth merchandise featuring ‘Fixins’ own hot sauce. There were also tables set up with different games like Jenga and Dominoes. Johnson wanted everyone who came to enjoy themselves and of course, eat well. Johnson highlighted his best menu items: Catfish, yams, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, cornbread, and Kool-Aid. The food was delectable and seasoned to perfection.
Johnson also had a DJ booth where different DJs were invited to come and spin. DJ Ash B, also known as, “The People’s DJ” was one of them. She spun songs from the 90s and 2000s era and she got the day party lives with her enthusiasm and love for the people. DJ Ash B is originally from Bakersfield, CA, and is now living her dream in the city of opportunity. “As a Black woman, being able to get on stage and vibe with everyone is such a blessing. It can be hard for women in the industry but for me, I have a lot of good people around me who want to see me do bigger and better things. Juneteenth means everything! I feel free. We are free to listen to our music and be black and beautiful” said DJ Ash B.
The event was nothing short of successful. Everyone who came smiled, danced, sang, laughed, and left with a full stomach and heart. Celebrities and TikTokers we all know and love came out to enjoy the event and be in the moment with the rest of L.A. celebrating this milestone in history. Sarunas J. Jackson from the television series “Insecure” and Jaye also known on Tik Tok as “Flossybaby“ came out to support the event and the celebration of freedom. The food was good, and the drinks were amazing. The vibe was real chill and very L.A. They should put on this event annually” said the people. For Johnson that is the goal. “It’s incredible. Our goal is to do this every year, annually. And make it bigger and better each time” said Johnson. This event is only the beginning of what’s to come in celebration of freedom. “Juneteenth, celebrating African American freedom, families, heritage, and becoming the ancestors’ dream.”