All photos courtesy of Carl Kemp

Sea breezes greeted thousands of guests at Rainbow Lagoon Park as they partook of the festivities at the second annual Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 18. Throughout the day, attendees of the sold out event were serenaded by a music and entertainment lineup that represented a wide spectrum of Black culture.

“Although this year’s event was sold out, talking about its potential for taking its place among Long Beach’s signature events such as the Grand Prix and the Pride Festival will help further establish its importance and success,” said event producer Carl Kemp.

Savory and sweet food trucks kept appetites satisfied, a dynamic vendor village gave guests an opportunity to support an array of Black businesses, and the Young Kings & Queens Village, sponsored by the YMCA, provided kids with a wonderful play area to enjoy.

Headliner Marsha Ambrosius

Jazz and Blues musicians, African drummers, poets, and many others enhanced the joy of the celebration. Headlining the entertainment was singer Marsha Ambrosius, from Liverpool, England, who was half of the R & B duo Floetry and has just completed an album with legendary producer Dr. Dre.

The Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) was a top-tier sponsor of the inaugural Celebration in 2021, which took place on Pine Avenue. DLBA became a major sponsor of the Juneteenth Celebration early last year as part of an ongoing series of programs and services aimed at celebrating, recognizing, and supporting Black residents, business owners, workers, and users of our Downtown. DLBA continues to provide support for the popular event.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It was on June 19th,1865 that Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free — two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.