Celebrating Juneteenth with southside soul performances

Juneteenth festival, Soul of the Southside, in Longfellow celebrates Black culture and community, with music, art and entertainment.


Black music and spoken word artists performed at the free Soul of the Southside festival on Monday, June 19, 2023. The event was presented by the Legacy Building, The Hook and Ladder, and KRSM 98.9.

Philadelphia-born artist and graduate of McNally Smith College of Music, J’mere, hosted the performances at the Hook and Ladder stage. This was his first time hosting as he performed as the opener during the 2022 event.  

“A lot of times there’s the stereotype that Black people can’t come together and coexist and just be cordial and have love and unity,” J’mere said. “This shows that that’s not true at all.” 

Two Minnesota-based artists, Brotha Asè and Godson King David, performed a musical duo that spoke on topics of Black empowerment, perseverance and healing. Brotha Asè also performed spoken word pieces alongside his wife, Jada, who performed an interpretive dance. 

“We celebrate Juneteenth because we celebrate freedom,” Brotha Asè said. “Freedom isn’t about being physically free. Freedom starts in your mind.”

Artist Huhroon grew up in Burnsville and has been creating music since 2018. Huhroon performed alternative rock on stage with his band members. Performing at the event was the band’s first time performing for a Juneteenth celebration. The artist said they’d enjoyed the different age groups that came to watch the performance, as well as the joy and kindness they received afterwards. 

“It’s important for me to celebrate Juneteenth because I’m Black in America,” Huhroon said. “Also we have to pay homage to the ones that came before us, and what they’ve worked for to get us to where we’re at today.” 

Juneteenth is a celebration of the emancipation of slavery in the United States. To many, the celebration is more than that. Juneteenth is also a celebration of the Black communities as a whole – a celebration of resilience, beauty, and togetherness. 

“Knowing how far our people have come since we got to America,” J’mere said. “Knowing the history and the pain and all the love we’ve had to harvest to get us this far, it means a lot.” 


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