JOE | Photo Credit: Edwina Hay

Saturday, June 17 

Lena Horne Bandshell in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!, the longest running free performing arts festival in New York City, hosted the Juneteenth UNITYFEST this past week. The summer long festival has become one of the city’s foremost cultural attractions and a beloved annual tradition inclusive of 20+ free shows, benefit concerts, dance performances, and more.

Grammy nominated soulful R&B singer JOE headlined the special Juneteenth UNITYFEST concert. Stokley, the lead singer and drummer in the popular R&B group Mint Condition, a collective known for hits like “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)” and “What Kind of Man Would I Be?”, was the opening act. 

The evening was hosted by Xavier “X” Jernigan, known as the “voice of Spotify.” In addition to music programming, Voices of a People’s History provided an educational element to amplify the meaning of Juneteenth by performing excerpts of speeches and other relevant literary works. Actors that participated included Aldis Hodge (known for his television role in “Leverage” and appearances in films such as  “Straight Outta Compton” “Hidden Figures” and the hit feature “The Invisible Man”); multi hyphenate actor, producer, writer, and activist Gbenga Akinnagbe (from “The Wire,” the action-packed FX series, “The Old Man,” and STARZ’ “Power Book II: Ghost.”), and director/actor  Megalyn Echikunwoke (whose acting credits include “Emily the Criminal,” “Bloodmoon,” and Universal’s “Night School”).  The Robert Randolph Foundation was the evening’s co-presenter.

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! runs through August 24th – view the full festival lineup at, and stay tuned for additional details on the 2023 season as they’re announced! 

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