Tribeca Film Festival to celebrate Juneteenth with special programming

"Our programming is a powerful reflection of incredible storytellers that are deeply rooted in showcasing the rich legacy of the Black experience, all culminating on Juneteenth," said Tribeca CEO Jane Rosenthal

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The Tribeca Film Festival is celebrating the upcoming Juneteenth holiday and it includes Stacey Abrams being honored.

Read More: Booker, Jackson Lee reintroduce bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday

The 2021 Tribeca Festival, presented by AT&T, announced on Thursday its full lineup for their 20th annual celebration of the landmark occasion with their annual festival which runs June 9-20.

Each day of the festival will have an emphasis on “the voices of the African Diaspora with an emphasis on African-American artists, performers, filmmakers, and interdisciplinary creators.” It will feature 66 films and 54 world premieres from Black talent.

(Credit: Charlotte Sather)

“The festival has always been a welcoming space for creators to share their stories and in support of artists through social activism,” said Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Festival co-founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal in a statement.

“I’m proud that this June, as part of our 20th anniversary, our programming is a powerful reflection of incredible storytellers that are deeply rooted in showcasing the rich legacy of the Black experience, all culminating on Juneteenth.”

Abrams will be recognized for her efforts in “leadership, service and commitment to fighting against injustices,” with the Harry Belafonte Voices For Social Justice Award. It’s named after the iconic actor, humanitarian and social activist.

Abrams has been lauded for spearheading Fair Fight, an initiative that promotes fair elections and encourages voters. Abrams has been crediting with helping President Joe Biden win the state of Georgia in the 2020 presidential election as the Peach State had not voted for a Democrat in the presidential race since 1992.

Stacey Abrams
Politician Stacey Abrams speaks onstage during The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 100 Women in Entertainment at Milk Studios on December 11, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter)

The organizers deemed her to be a natural fit as the first inaugural recipient of the Harry Belafonte Voices For Social Justice Award.

“We are proud to salute the brilliant and inspiring actor, activist and friend, Harry Belafonte with this award created in his honor,” Chief Content Officer Paula Weinstein said in a statement.

“We are in awe of Stacey Abrams and her amazing work and unwavering commitment to fighting on behalf of our democracy and against injustices. We are thrilled for her to be the first recipient to begin the legacy of this award.” 

Some of the other highlights will also include Ju’Niyah Palmer honoring the life of her late sister, Breonna Taylor, The Neutral Ground featuring a conversation with writer and director CJ Hunt, executive producer Roy Wood Jr. (The Daily Show), Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, rapper A$AP Rocky discussing his life and arrest while in Stockholm, Sweden, and Sanaa Lathan participating on a director’s panel.

Read More: GOP Sen. Ron Johnson blocks bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday

There will also be a 30th-anniversary screening of the classic The Five Heartbeats. Cast members Robert Townsend, John Canada Terrell, Tico Wells, Leon Robinson, James Hawthorne, Harry Lennix, and Michael Wright will appear on a panel moderated by Loren Hammond after the screening.

In addition, there will be interviews and two TV show premieres along with various competitions and podcasts surrounding Juneteenth.  

The origins of Juneteenth—the end of chattel slavery in the United States– come from enslaved people in Galveston, Texas being belatedly informed of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln, which freed slaves in the southern states on January 1, 1863.

They became aware on June 19, 1865, more than two years later.

Juneteenth has been celebrated for many years and in 1980, Texas became the first state to recognize it as a holiday. Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota are the only states that do not acknowledge the date’s historical significance.

In recent years, the joyous gatherings have gained more prominence as the Black Lives Matter movement has gained traction.

Tickets are available for advance purchase HERE.

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