Silk to headline Juneteenth festival
BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Sunday, May 20, 2018
National R&B group Silk and North Carolina's own Sleeping Booty Band will headline Rocky Mount’s two-day Juneteenth Community Empowerment Festival in June.
Known for chart-topping hits like “If You (Lovin’ Me),” “Girl U for Me/Lose Control” and other songs, Silk began in 1989 with its first hit single dropping in 1993.
Sleeping Booty — a 12-piece band featuring a horn section, percussion and multiple lead vocalists — is well known for delivering cover songs from Aretha Franklin to ZZ Top. The popular band was originally conceived as a ’70s and ’80s cover band in 1999. In recent years, the group expanded its song list to include contemporary hits and other popular categories. They have performed before live audiences throughout the U.S.
“Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration recognizing the end of slavery. The commemoration of Juneteenth has taken place since the 19th century,” said Greg Royal, chairman of the Juneteenth Planning Committee. “That is why music is only one aspect of this annual celebration.”
The festival also will honor exceptional students and feature a charity car show, said Tameka Kenan-Norman, the city's chief communications and marketing officer.
The festival is set for June 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. and June 2 from 11:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. in front of the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences on Gay Street in downtown Rocky Mount.
This year’s keynote speaker acknowledging the significance of Juneteenth will be city Councilman Reuben Blackwell, president and CEO of the Opportunities Industrialization Center.
The first day will feature Sleeping Booty, violinist Daniel Davis, a flag raising and A/B honor roll recognition. Students from Parker Middle School, Baskerville Elementary School,D.S. Johnson Elementary School and Rocky Mount Prep who made the honor roll will be recognized.
The second day will feature Silk, a bike rodeo, music from the Electric Image Band and the Gospel Jubilators as well as performances from the Kenya Safari Acrobats and other performers. Six students also will be presented with John Perry Scholarships. Perry was a former Rocky Mount councilman who was also known as an education and community advocate.
“We also want to honor students, remember notable pioneers like John Perry and Vernon Powell and share the importance of Juneteenth,” Royal said.
New to the celebration this year will be a Juneteenth Charity Car Show starting at noon Saturday. All proceeds from the car show will go equally to Williford Elementary School and My Sister’s House.
For the past two years, the city has announced the Juneteenth headliners via mobile messaging.
To learn about city happenings and be ready for next year's celebration, text CITYBEAT to 55469.
“We always seem to have a great response from individuals who are really interested in finding out who will be headlining Juneteenth,” Kenan-Norman said. “Those who sign up for mobile messaging are really our VIPs because they will be the first to know who our headlining act will be, and they will be the first to learn about future city events and initiatives.”
This year’s Juneteenth is presented by PNC and hosted by the city and the Juneteenth Planning Committee. For more information about Juneteenth call 252-972-1151.