Updated: Jan 20, 2021
Hey to all my skinfolks that's kinfolks. This year SippTalk along with BLM Sip and The Fertile Ground Project hosted a Juneteenth Celebration. This year's theme was Black Joy as Resistance, and when I say folks came out to show out y'all have to know it was truly a joyous occasion! There were vendors, artists, food trucks, and so much more! From smells of fried catfish and ribs to vegan juices and health products, there was more than enough food for every palette. Artists and creatives were able to sell unique pieces ranging from custom prints and paintings to individual works created to help anyone become a self-proclaimed “at home artist”. There was no lack of community support catered to the Black experience and more specifically, Black Mississippians coming together to uplift one another in a community built by those who came before them.
“I wanted to create a reminder that joy is just as radical as rage..."
I was able to work with one of the organizers, and SippTalk founder, Jasmine Williams during the set up to hear more about how this event came to be and why events like Juneteenth are so pivotal for Black people. Jasmine pulls her inspiration from lots of places such as the other Juneteenth celebrations held by the City of Jackson in past years, other creatives, and her own experiences as a Mississippian and community organizer. She was quoted as saying, "Black Joy As Resistance felt necessary in this time. I wanted to create a space for Black folks to be happy, be celebrated and to be filled. 2020 has been rough, I wanted to create a reminder that joy is just as radical as rage. Sipp Talk served as an organizer of the event. We brought the pieces together. Fertile Ground gave us access to the space, Adrienne Domnick revealed her art. BLM gave us more access to people and Christina McField gave us access to Black vendors. We served as a connector of all of these resources to make this event happen. And DJ Phingaprint gave us the music." By using her network and connections to the local creative economy Jasmine was able to ensure that the story of Farish Street, and the history of Black Resistance in Mississippi was brought to the forefront.
“We served as a connector of all of these resources to make this event happen...”
This year's celebration was held on Farish Street in downtown Jackson, Mississippi. Farish Street Historic District was once home to one of the largest Black-owned, economically independent communities in the U.S. and the largest such community in Mississippi. Neighborhoods like Farish Street helped Black people find an oasis during time periods filled with overt racial tension and were used to combat the direct oppression that they would face in white-owned spaces. By maintaining their own community the residents of places like Farish Street were actively operating in resistance to oppression and systems designed to stifle Black liberation. This year's Junetheenth Celebration signified the revitalization of Black economic power and with current protests as the backdrop, the timing could not be better. Black Mississippians should be proud of the communities that are all over the state that mirror the spirit found in the old bricks and stones of places like Farish Street. They serve as proof of Black Resistance, Black livelihood, Black independence, and Black Joy.
Photos of the event are courtesy of Midstory Photography.