By Jackie Hampton,
A press conference breakfast was held Tuesday, May 9, to announce the line-up of Juneteenth Jackson Expo weekend events. It was held at 8:30 a.m. at New Horizon Church International’s Café located at 170 Ellis Avenue.
As the nation celebrates the first official U.S. Federal holiday of Juneteenth, it is said that Mississippi’s Capital City will lead the nation in the essence of Juneteenth with events planned for the entire week-end of June 17-19, 2022, which also includes Father’s Day.
The celebration will include a Bobby Rush Street Motorcade Parade in recognition of the renaming of I-20 Ellis Avenue to Bobby Rush Blvd. It will include a free concert by Rush, a performance by the Mississippi Mass Choir, a salute to dads for Father’s Day, and Mississippi’s largest wedding ceremony projecting 100 couples getting married on the grounds of New Horizon Church. These are just a few of the events for this memorable occasion.
Bishop Ronnie Crudup Sr., pastor of New Horizon Church, welcomed the press and stated that this being the first year Juneteenth is celebrated as a national holiday, he was honored that the events will take place on the grounds of New Horizon. Crudup noted that this will be the first of an annual celebration here in Jackson. He said, “It’s a celebration of family, a celebration of freedom and a celebration of economic development.”
Crudup encouraged couples that want to get married without having to spend a lot of money to come be a part of the Jumping the Broom Ceremony. He said, “We are going to make the genius book of records,” referring to the 100 couples being married.
The significance of jumping broom to black heritage and history originates in the West African country of Ghana where in certain cultures it symbolized sweeping away past wrongs or removing evil spirits.
The celebration is a partnership.
Ison Harris Jr., director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Jackson, stated the city will be handling events downtown for the kids as well as a fireworks extravaganza. He said he is looking forward to partying all week-end long in celebration of Juneteenth.
Ricky Thigpen, president and CEO of Visit Jackson, said Visit Jackson was excited to be a part of the celebration. He said, “Collective ambition is a word we often use at Visit Jackson and this event is an example of what can happen when people pull together to make things happen.”
Bobby Rush, the 2021 Grammy winner for traditional blues and a national and local favorite entertainer, attended the press event and said he wanted to thank everyone in advance for what they are going to do. He said, “I am proud they finally gave us the holiday. Don’t let Juneteenth be so much you forget about the vote.” Rush encouraged everyone to come out and have fun.
Rush said he was honored to have a portion of Ellis Avenue named after him. He said, “My professional name is Bobby Rush but my birth name is Emmett Ellis, that’s how I know God is in the plan.”
Alious McBride, president of Mississippi Goodwill Festival Inc., attended the press breakfast. He told The Mississippi Link that it over 30 years ago when his company first got started, Bobby Rush told him that if they ever needed anything of him to simply call. McBride said, “Finally over 30 years, we are finally able to do something together.”
When asked of Crudup by the Mississippi Link who suggested the concert be held at New Horizon, he said Mississippi Public Broadcasters, who is doing a documentary on Rush, asked him.
For more information, to include dates and times of the various events, visit www.juneteenthjxn.com.
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