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    Chauncey Billups, Bow Wow to appear at Denver’s Juneteenth Music Festival

    By Heather Willard,

    2024-06-11

    DENVER ( KDVR ) — Organizers of the Denver Juneteenth Music Festival are inviting the community to come out and celebrate the holiday with a weekend full of events that uplift Black lives in the Mile High City.

    The events start at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 15, with a parade. The route runs from Manual High School, one of the first schools to educate women and African Americans, to Welton Street. The street is in the historic Black Denver neighborhood Five Points and once was known as the “Welton Strip.”

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    The festival is set to take place as a block party on Welton Street from 24th Street to 29th Street, with some festival areas on the cross streets and in-between areas.

    The festival will also honor former University of Colorado Buffaloes and Denver Nuggets star Chauncey Billups, who grew up playing basketball in the Park Hill neighborhood. He will receive the Juneteenth Music Festival Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony set for Sunday, June 16 at 6 p.m. The ceremony will recognize Billups’ upcoming induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and “significant contributions to both the community and the world of sports.”

    Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery , was designated a federal holiday in 2021. A measure passed in 2022 in Colorado also made Juneteenth a state holiday to mark the nation’s “second Independence day,” according to the law text.

    “Although it has long been celebrated in the African American community, this monumental event remains largely unknown to most Americans,” the law notes. “For decades, many southern Black communities were forced to celebrate Juneteenth on the outskirts of town due to racism and Jim Crow laws … therefore, the general assembly declares the designation of Juneteenth as a state legal holiday in remembrance of the rejoicement of the day Black slaves in Texas and other states learned of their freedom. The historical legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of never giving up hope in uncertain times.”

    Denver’s Juneteenth Music Festival will also feature a free show headlined by rapper and actor Bow Wow. He is scheduled to perform on the main stage on Sunday, June 16.

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    The event includes a variety of free activities, including bouncy castles, dunk tanks and dance competitions for young attendees.

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    On June 15 at 2 p.m., the Dream Big Awards will be presented to:

    • Dr. Ryan Ross , CEO of the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado
    • Bianca Emerson , president of Colorado Black Women for Political Action
    • Darrell Watson , Denver City Council member for District 9, which includes Five Points
    • Justin Gilmore , business development director for Gilmore Construction involved in the Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, Hispanic Contractors of Colorado and the Associated General Contractors of Colorado
    • DJ Squizzy Taylor , entertainer and philanthropist who creates the Broncos game soundtracks.

    Other events planned for the weekend include:

    • Juneteenth Jump-Off Jam
      • Friday, June 14, at 9:30 p.m. at Spangalang Brewery
      • Hosted by Colorado Black Women for Political Action and Duane Taylor Events
    • After Party
      • Sunday, June 16 at 9 p.m. at Mile High Spirits
      • Tickets cost $20
    • Juneteenth Festival Squizzy Taylor Sing-Along
      • Saturday, June 15 and 16 from 4-6 p.m., karaoke at the 5 Points Plaza on Welton Street
      • Donations go to the Celebrate Life Foundation
      • Sign up available online .

    Full information about the festival can be found at juneteenthmusicfestival.com .

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to FOX31 Denver.

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