North Omaha celebrates Juneteenth

North Omaha celebrates Juneteenth
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Saturday marked the peak of a week-long celebration for the Juneteenth holiday.

This week’s events celebrated the rich culture in the North Omaha community. Festivities started Friday with The House of Afros, Capes & Curls and the Juneteenth Night Market.

On Saturday the annual Juneteenth parade made its way down 24th Street. After the parade the fourth annual Joyfest celebration provided a stage for Black artists and musicians to showcase their talent.

“We’re starting off with our youth performers, then we’re going in to some of our local talent,” says spoken word poet and emcee Jewel Rodgers.

For Minneapolis native and rap artist Ricki Monique, she pulls her audience in by creating what she calls a sonic landscape.

“Specifically for my writing, I like to try to speak about my own experience as a Black woman from the Midwest, and people tend to really be attracted to the authenticity of that work. So in my lyrics I really just try to be honest,” says Ricki.

It’s that same authenticity she’s hoping resonates with younger audiences.

“I’m a multimodal artist, so I work in a lot of different areas of art, but I’m thriving in all of them and I want to showcase that you don’t just have to be in one box,”… “What I want to inspire for the people seeing me is just taking their time and allowing themselves to ground in their own practice. Because the more that you are able to connect to your own practice and find joy in your own practice, whatever it is, you’re going to be so much more fulfilled and you’re going to be able to inspire way more people,” says Ricki.

Saturday’s display is how many creators like Ricki can celebrate their work and celebrate Black history and culture.

“It’s very important to grow events like this, not only in this community, but nationwide, because it brings you closer to yourself and it builds community in a way that it’s seen beyond tangible connections. You start to see the environment change around you based off of people’s mindsets, and that’s powerful,” says Rodgers.

Along with Joyfest, the Omaha Freedom Festival took place at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, with activities from Noon until Midnight, including a concert.

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