This past Saturday, the Journal sponsored a Juneteenth event held on the parking lot and patio of Hopkins Village. Our granddaughter, Ife was in control the event. I must say it we were pleasantly surprised. The event was a great success. Even though our event competed with other events in the community, we had a nice crowd to drop by. The most asked question was, “How often do you do this?” One vendor asked, “Do you put on one for Christmas?”
Local entertainment included writer, actress, vocalist Chelsea J. and her friend Niya doing an original song that included some rapping which was outstanding. Now I know that regular readers of this column know I am not a fan of rapping. However, I have modiﬁed that opinion and say that I am not a fan of profanity in rapping. That opinion will not change.
Besides Chelsea J, the lineup for the afternoon, included Roscoe Lee Owens’ JazzZone, with jazz, rock and blues which set the tone for the day, Afrocentric Drumming and Dancers to the music from Onochie Chukwara’s Rhythms of the Village, poetry by Imani Britton, and a community open discussion on Juneteenth; freedom and the current state of Black America that was facilitated by Dr. Rosie Milligan, founder and Director of Black Writers on Tour, and Dr. Kristi Woods, head of the Black Studies Department at California University Riverside.
The event was concluded with an exciting performance by Brother Yusef, Pasadena’s locally bred bluesman. He has spent the past twenty plus years as an entrepreneurial businessman maintaining and expanding the American Past time of singing and playing the music known as the Blues. Brother Yusef’s music was a crowd pleaser with heads nodding hand clapping and feet stomping.
Vendors for the event included unique clothing and jewelry from Lailah’s Loft on North Fair Oaks in Altadena, items from Grammy’s Place including Black themed greeting cards, Gourmet Sweet Potato Pies from Pj’s, Soaps from Sterling Belleza, Quilts from Janis Davy and Jewelry from Sisties and Dangles Designer Jewelry. Bar-B-Que from Robins kept the crowd well satisﬁed eating on great Bar-B-Que ribs and chicken, baked beans and potato salad. Robins is a longtime staple of Pasadena. Kona Shaved Ice kept the crowd cool.
For me, the excitement of the event is seeing young entrepreneurs have a chance to market and sell their products. This year every vendor was happy with their sales results. It’s likely that Ife will be back with a Holiday Marketplace and possibly a 2018 Juneteenth. Let us know if you are interested in participating.
With all of the trouble being created in the world by recent political actions disturbing the ﬂ ow of business and progress of America, the world of entrepreneurship must open up, even more than before. We must create more jobs and opportunities for ourselves by using our natural creativity to develop businesses to support ourselves and others.
Juneteenth is a natural place to begin the ﬂ ow of business as it grew out of a deprivation of rights and freedom.
I hope to see you next year.