Across the United States, Juneteenth has been commemorated in various ways, from BBQs to acts of service within the community. This yearly historic acknowledgment—especially since becoming a US federal holiday—is a reminder to be unapologetically visible and proud while congregating with our community, whether blood-related or chosen.

This Juneteenth, EBONY ventured to Chi-Town for an exclusive engagement that was boldly Black and overflowing with vibes of liberation. In partnership with the globally recognized Soho House at their Chicago location, EBONY co-hosted a Juneteenth Pool Party on their rooftop, which had stunning views of the beautiful city.

Aside from the elements of celebration, Juneteenth is the ultimate display of Black American culture. One of the many ways Black folks honor us and our culture is by paying it forward in style. Soho House Chicago hosted an art showcase hosted by ChiGivesBack. The non-profit was founded by John Boddie who, along with a dedicated team, has hosted the event for four years. However, this event was different from your usual art showcase. A selection of local artists were curated to paint thought-provoking pieces in real time that spoke to the theme of Juneteenth. The artwork was then auctioned off and the correlated proceeds went toward ChiGivesBack.

“ChiGivesBack is thrilled to partner with Soho House Chicago and Paint the City for our 4th annual Juneteenth Art Showcase. This event, featuring eleven talented local artists, is a testament to our commitment to celebrating Juneteenth through the power of art. Each artist created a unique piece inspired by the spirit of Juneteenth, and guests had the opportunity to bid on the art pieces, with all proceeds supporting our ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ initiative.

This event not only showcases the incredible talent within our city but also reinforces our dedication to fostering community resilience and driving social change. We envision a future where every Chicago resident has access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive, and events like this bring us one step closer to realizing that vision.

We are deeply grateful to our partners and supporters for making this event possible. Together, we are paying it forward, inspiring positive change, and building a more equitable and sustainable community.”

John Boddie, founder of ChiGivesBack

After an evening of community-based investment, the following day continued in the spirit of community with a pool party produced by SoHo House Chicago’s Membership Manager Portia King, Sigma Chris and Kid Clay.

“Our goal for curating this year’s Soho House Chicago Juneteenth pool party was to create an experience that reflected the excellence and elevated tones of Blackness. We wanted to highlight Chicago’s rich Black history and culture. Having EBONY officially partnered in the experience did just that.”

Portia King, Soho House Chicago’s Membership Manager

All those in attendance carried a sense of excitement and joy that can only be personified as #BlackExcellence. Folks had opportunities to enjoy EBONY’s signature “Legacy Libation” cocktail—a frozen lavender margarita— network with one another to the hottest tunes or even find a new potential bae for a proper summer fling.

“This was more than a pool party. It was a celebration of us and an opportunity for members and guests to celebrate Juneteenth with EBONY. The display of vintage EBONY magazine covers, editorial styled photo booth, and complimentary EBONY Legacy Libation cocktail passes, truly made the event iconic,” Sigma Chris reflected.

Image: Savannah Taylor for EBONY.

“It was the perfect day. The weather, the energy, crowd and overall vibe was perfect…Not only being able to spin on Soho House Chicago’s rooftop with the skyline as our backdrop, seeing us come together in that large of capacity was a beautiful sight. You had to be there,” echoes Clay about the energy of the event.