The Paris of the South, The Big Easy, The Crescent City, no matter the moniker, New Orleans is a legendary city brimming with things to do, see and eat. Whether you’re flocking to the city with your girlfriends for ESSENCE Fest, attending Jazz Fest with your significant other, partying during Mardis Gras, or simply enjoying a weekend getaway filled with food, fun, art, and history, there is something for every type of traveler. Here are some of our top picks for where to eat, play and stay in New Orleans.
Getting to and around New Orleans
Getting to New Orleans is easily accessible as most major domestic airlines fly into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), which is located about 15 miles outside of New Orleans. Once in the city, you have several options on how to get around and keep the good times rolling. If you stay in the French Quarter or on Bourbon Street, it is relatively easy to get around on foot, even during major events like ESSENCE Fest. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is a 6-10-minute drive or 20-30-minute walk from either location.
Renting a car is also an option for getting around in New Orleans. If you plan to stay outside Downtown, renting a car may be the best option. However, parking can be a disaster Downtown or near Bourbon Street. There are parking decks and street parking available, but be extremely cautious of parking restrictions, as they are heavily enforced and you don’t want to find your car booted or towed. You can expect to pay anywhere from $25-$40 per day for parking in New Orleans. Use the app SpotHero, to find available parking garages, and sometimes you can even reserve in advance.
Another scenic option for getting around New Orleans is their streetcar system. The system has four lines that run along or intersect with, the French Quarter, Canal Street, and the Business District. Be sure to have exact change or you can purchase a Jazzy Pass for around $1.25 that can also be used on buses. You will also find ride-share services like Uber and Lyft in New Orleans.
What to do in New Orleans
You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat, things to do, and places to see in New Orleans. While Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street may be synonymous with New Orleans, there is more to the Crescent City than multi-colored beads and “Hand Grenades.” New Orleans is a melting pot of cultural influences, which makes this dynamic city incredibly unique, downright delicious, and outrageously fun to explore. Music is the heartbeat of New Orleans. After all, jazz originated in this city. Explore the Tremé Historic District, the very first African American neighborhood in the United States, which is also home to Congo Square, the birthplace of Jazz, and Armstrong Park - aptly named after jazz legend and trumpeter, Louis Armstrong.
This can all be done with a one-stop-shop tour with the Black Heritage & Jazz Tour where you not only explore the music scenes, old and new, of New Orleans, but you also learn insights about Voodoo, Creole architecture, The Freedom Fighters, and unfiltered stories about slavery. Speaking of slavery, learn more about its harrowing history at Whitney Plantation. Unlike some other tours, this tour is curated to highlight the enslaved people who lived there. There’s no skirting around the truth or sugar-coating; this tour gives it to you real and raw.
If you want to satiate the epicurean in you, check out the No Secrets Food & Cocktail tour, or a range of other tours including the LGBTQ History Tour, as New Orleans is home to one of the first gay neighborhoods and first gay bars in the United States, the Ghosts of the French Quarter Tour, if you’re feeling brave enough, or you can personalize your own private tour. For art lovers, a visit to Studio Be is a must when visiting New Orleans. Local artist, Brandon Odums (aka BMike) takes you on a soul-stirring journey, in a 35,000 sq ft warehouse, with works of art depicting the stories of Black revolutionaries, leaders, and icons, Black culture in New Orleans, and his iconic larger-than-life murals and installations.
There is plenty to explore in New Orleans, but take a moment and get lost in the pages of mystery and history at Baldwin & Co. or Community Book Center, two Black-owned bookstores in New Orleans. And, while Magazine Street has nothing to do with flipping through pages, it has everything to do with shops, eateries, art galleries, and museums that beckon to be explored. Head over to Frenchmen Street for all the live music action. Frenchmen Street gives you those Bourbon Street vibes, with fewer crowds, more authenticity, and a little more coziness. There are over 20 bars, venues, and restaurants within a two-block stretch on this street.
Where to eat in New Orleans
From pralines to Po-boys, beignets to seafood boils, New Orleans is easily one of the top food capitals in the U.S., and the iconic food scene here will take you on one epic gastronomic journey. Kickstart your morning at Café Beignet with pillowy beignets peppered with powdered sugar and complemented by a delicious cup of café au lait (coffee with milk). Café Beignet is a delicious, less crowded, alternative to Café du Monde and many argue their beignets are better. You be the judge. If you are looking for something with a little more sustenance to fuel your day, try Surrey’s crab meat omelet or shrimp and grits, or Katie’s grits and grillades.
For a brunch served with a side of swimming and a dab of drag, The Country Club is your place. They have a pool you can take a dip in and they also host drag show brunches every Saturday and Sunday, but you must make reservations, which are sometimes booked months in advance.
When in the Big Easy seafood is a must and trust, you won’t find a shortage of it! Check out Drago’s Seafood Restaurant or Felix Restaurant & Oyster Bar for some of New Orleans’ best-chargrilled oysters. If your palette prefers a little down-home, Southern soul food, Neyow’s Creole Cafe and Cochon deliver. Classic creole food is on the menu at Café Sbisa. Not only that, being established in 1899 makes Café Sbisa the third oldest fine-dining establishment in the French Quarter, and as an added bonus, it’s Black-owned.
On the other hand, sometimes you’re just in the mood for a mouthwatering, juicy burger and Port of Call yields the title bestowed by Tripadvisor diners as the #1 spot for the best burgers in New Orleans. To satisfy your sweet tooth, indulge in delicious pralines, New Orleans’ signature sweet, from Bernard’s Pralines or Loretta’s.
Where to stay in New Orleans
Stay in the heart of the French Quarter at Hotel Monteleone, a luxury New Orleans Hotel. This location is super convenient to get around and has everything at your doorstep and within walking distance. Want to stay on the world-famous Bourbon Street? Hyatt Centric and Royal Sonesta are excellent choices. Hyatt Centric offers a chic and contemporary vibe juxtaposed to the age-old structures surrounding the building. Royal Sonesta boasts timeless elegance and is the perfect rest sanctuary after a long day of adventuring in the city. With exposed brick, a rotating art gallery, eclectic flair, and a location just three blocks from Bourbon Street, The Old No. 77 Hotel is one of New Orleans’ trendiest hotels.
The Chloe Hotel, with 14 sophisticated rooms, is an excellent choice if you are looking for more of a boutique feel, dripped in Southern charm and character. The Chloe is about three miles from Bourbon street, so you’re close enough to the action but far enough away when you’re looking for an escape from the busyness. Travelers looking to support Black-owned businesses in New Orleans can stay at NOPSI Hotel. NOPSI is an iconic building built in the Roaring 20s and later converted into a luxurious hotel with a rooftop pool and stunning skyline views. NOPSI is just three blocks away from the vibrancy of the French Quarter.
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“Who made the potato salad?” As summertime kicks off, this is the universal question that, without fail, will be asked at every barbeque and backyard kickback over the coming months. With the Fourth of July also nearing, summertime celebrations and cookouts will be in full force. However, as the tide begins to turn in this new day and age, more Black Americans are celebrating Juneteenth, instead of the Fourth of July, because, after all, there were still over 250,000 Black Americans enslaved in Galveston, Texas during this so-called Independence Day.
In the words of our brother Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Also, with the world being put on pause for over two years due to COVID, and in many cases keeping families separated during this time, now is the perfect time to reach back to our roots and bring back family reunions as an alternative to celebrating the Fourth of July.
It’s time to cue the Soul Train line as folks boogie down to the beats of Earth, Wind and Fire’s "September," and Cameo’s "Candy." Of course, you have to whip out the card table for endless rounds of spades and hear the back-and-forth banter that will surely ensue, followed by the familial “whack!” sound as some unsuspecting soul just got their deuce of diamonds cut by a little joker and backdoored by the big joker to seal the win. “Who got next?!” the victor queries.
Tables shake and “bones” rattle over an intense game of dominoes. Uncle So-and-So, the self-proclaimed grill master, throws down on the grill while rocking the universal “barbeque sandal.” You know the ones we’re talking about. Paper plates sit on laps and red Solo cups rest by feet. Family, food, and fellowship -- ahhh yes, the perfect recipe for a family reunion.
How Family Reunions Started
Family reunions go beyond those, just the right touch of sweet, baked beans and finger-lickin' good barbeque ribs. While food may be the vessel through which we fellowship and frolic with our folks, how Black American family reunions took shape dates back to the times of the Emancipation Proclamation. During enslavement, Black families were ripped apart.
According to an Equal Justice Initiative report, "It's estimated that more than half of all enslaved people in the Upper South were separated from a parent or child, and a third of their marriages were destroyed by forced migration.” After the Emancipation Proclamation, newly freed Black Americans desperately sought out their missing family members, posting advertisements in local newspapers as a part of their search efforts. If history has taught us anything, it’s taught us that our ancestors are resilient and resourceful.
Whether it was through advertisements or word of mouth, the nation experienced what would become known as the Great Migration where nearly 4 million African Americans migrated from the South to the North. This migration and reunification of Black families was the beginning of family reunions as we know them.
Nowadays, family reunions have evolved to be more than just a picnic. They are now oftentimes multi-day events that alternate locations from year to year, and out-of-towners make the pilgrimage, much like the ancestors, to reunite with family.
The Importance of Family Reunions
Why are Black family reunions so important? Because, while our roots may be intertwined with a harrowing past, our resilience is what has led us to where we are today, and that is to be celebrated. Black family reunions serve as an opportunity for us to sit at the feet of our elders and learn about our family’s history and legacy -- to soak up the knowledge that we will one day be able to pass down to those that come after us. It is an opportunity to truly connect, beyond the computer screens and social media statuses, and to gather for events besides weddings or funerals. Life, lineage, and legacy should be celebrated while living, and while there are things that should be buried with our ancestors, i.e. generational curses, our family’s stories should live on forever.
Want to incorporate some new traditions at your next family reunion? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Shop with Black-owned brands and businesses.
Family reunions are the perfect time to support skinfolk by shopping Black. Use Black vendors for things like catering, DJs, decorations, etc. Those matching t-shirts we mentioned earlier, use a Black-owned t-shirt printing company. Keep those dollars circulating in the Black community.
2. Create a family journal.
Creating a family journal for your family reunion is a great tradition to start as a way to document the lives, stories, and words of wisdom from the family. There are a few ways this can be done. You can create a video journal, which is likely the easiest and quickest way to capture information, especially for elders who may be unable to write or type. Another way is to have people physically write their stories or advice and have it all scanned into a digital ebook. Another possible option is for everyone to submit their information electronically and then it is all compiled into physical or digital books. Imagine future generations being able to have a tangible book of their family's words that have been passed down for generations.
3. Create a family cookbook.
Some of the best recipes are those that have been passed down from generation to generation. Some of the best recipes are buried in graves because our loved ones refused to let anyone in on their secret ingredients. For shame. However, for those willing to depart with their secret 11 herbs and spices, creating a family heritage cookbook is a great way to do it. Give them fun titles like “Aunt Mary’s Make You Wanna Slap Yo’ Mama Mac & Cheese” or keep it simple like, “Uncle Bobby’s BBQ sauce.” These recipes will stay in the family long after loved ones have departed.
4. Create a scholarship fund.
Starting the family reunion tradition of creating a scholarship fund is a way to pour into the family youth while promoting family unity through academic excellence. Applicants could be high school seniors who must complete an application form and essay. One of the questions could be “How do you plan to continue the family legacy?” Whether there are multiple recipients or a single recipient, another requirement could be that they must pour into or give back to the next year’s recipient(s), whether that is through time and mentorship and/or financially.
5. Host a fashion show.
Who doesn't love a reason to get gussied up and dressed to the nines? Having a family reunion fashion show is a fun way to get everyone involved, young and old. Themes can change yearly, or however often you have your family reunion. Or if you don’t want to hassle the family with packing extra clothes, you can simply do a “Strut Your Best Stuff” fashion show, and the person that serves the fiercest strut and garners the biggest crowd reaction will be crowned the victor.
No matter how you celebrate, big or small, consider getting the family together for a family reunion as an alternative to Fourth of July celebrations.
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“Reclaiming my time” isn’t just a catchphrase coined by our beloved ‘Auntie’ Maxine Waters. It is an assertion that Black Americans have been striving to obtain for centuries. Pillaged and plucked from our Motherland, stripped of our culture, and robbed of our freedom, Black Americans have fought vigorously to not only reclaim our time but to reclaim our identity for centuries. While the foundation was laid by those that came before us, the world saw an undeniable shift in 2020. George Floyd, like so many others, paid the ultimate price. As a result of his untimely death, the world reached a tipping point. Black squares standing in solidarity filled our timelines, companies plastered their promises on their websites, and DEI, all of a sudden, became a buzzword. The world was now “woke” from its all-too-complacent slumber.
More than ever before, the nation wanted to hear our stories and right its wrongs. Let’s be clear, not everyone shared these sentiments. Go to any corporate Instagram page and read the comments under any Black-centric, supporting, post. The vileness of some keyboard warriors never ceases to amaze me. Nonetheless, historic shifts were made. People like Dr. Opal Lee, the 95-year-old activist who set out to walk from Texas to Washington D.C. in hopes of gaining support from Congress to officially name Juneteenth a national holiday, finally saw her dreams and hard work manifest into reality. For the first time since its inception over 150 years ago, Juneteenth became a recognized Federal holiday in June 2021.
Now, more than ever, people are privy to the date etched in history in which all enslaved Black people were set “free” as deemed by the Emancipation Proclamation. This day, when General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas with his Union soldiers to inform over 250,000 enslaved Black people they were now free, came two and a half years after the actual Emancipation Proclamation, on June 19th, 1865. Despite Black history, Black stories, and Black celebrations like Juneteenth being brought to the forefront, there are still seemingly gaps that need to be bridged between our present and our past. There are stories from our ancestral archives that need to be told and retold, so that our history, all-too-often diminished by high-rise condos, quaint cafés, and overpriced artisanal shops, may never be forgotten.
This was evident when I made my first visit to Houston a year ago and learned about the history and legacy of Freedmen’s Town, a neighborhood built by newly freed Black Americans in the 1800s. This was a community built by hand, brick-by-brick, where Black businesses boomed and Black families flourished. It was a place where Blacks had freedom of choice and could reclaim their identities that had been stripped through years of slavery and oppression. There were dozens of Freedmen’s Town settlements across the United States, but most notably in Texas. Houston’s Freedmen’s Town is the only remaining freed slave community of its kind in the United States.
Not surprising, Texas was the location of the first Juneteenth celebrations. In 1872, Jack Yates and members of his church raised $1,000 to purchase ten acres of land in Houston, known as Emancipation Park. This community cornerstone served as a formal gathering space for Juneteenth celebrations.
While the nation may be just now catching on to Juneteenth celebrations, Juneteenth roots run deep in Texas. To get a better idea of how Texans honor and celebrate Juneteenth in this day and time, their perceived importance of the holiday, and how they define their Blackness, I tapped some locals to get their perspective.
Executive Director of the Houston Freedmen's Town Conservancy (HFTC)
Courtesy of Zion Escobar
I, myself, have older family members who have never heard of Juneteenth, despiteJuneteenth having been around for over 150 years now. Why do you think there are still so many people who don’t know about this celebration?
When I’m kind of pondering that question, I really actually have to reflect on the surface level -- why I think people don’t know about this, and then the deeper level -- why I think they don’t know, right? And, if I start with the idea that context is everything, I truly believe that once the country is introduced to the story of freedom -- which, a.k.a., the story of Freedmen’s Town, the story of the Houston/Gavelston region’s Juneteenth story, and the context that has, to the social justice movement happening throughout the country, to modern-day issues of policing and how all of these things really track back culturally to norms and Jim Crow laws, and post Reconstruction Era, decisions that were made, in regards to redlining in Black communities and culture erasure -- when people have that context, they’ll realize that a lot of the things that they are out in the streets fighting for, that this is so not new. That this problem is 150+ years old. I think that more people will start to understand. The example that I would use as a kind of that beacon of hope is that the 1619 Project has set the context for America, for a conversation that’s been around since 1619.
So, I think the answer is that context is everything. People have a tendency to say, “Oh, Juneteenth is about slavery and nobody wants to talk about slavery” and people actually don’t understand that it’s actually the story of freedom. And, it’s the story of what we did, what Black excellence looks like before all these systems of oppression really took hold and were established as a system.
As the Director of Houston’s Freedmen’s Town Conservancy have you seen an evolution in the way that Juneteenth has been celebrated in Houston? How so?
As the director of the Houston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy, I have seen a substantial shift in how Juneteenth is being celebrated in Houston. Case in point, we’ve been free for over 150 years now, and for the first time ever, the grassroots, the foundational non-profit organizations’ leadership in Houston have come together to collaborate on a city-wide Juneteenth experience; meaning, we are not just having a parade that the city gets to come to.
As Black organizations, we are working with each other to uplift, co-program, co-fund, co-market and communicate what this is about, and to show unity in a way that I think people need to see around the world -- that we are all on board with this story and we understand that this needs to come into the American consciousness in a very real and solid way and we are showing up to do the work and we understand the assignment.
[In] previous years, I can’t say that there was such a cohesive consciousness of understanding, and the social justice movement has awakened that vigor, that thing, within everyone to say, ”We need to get it together and make sure that the story is clear and that the context is clear”; because people are celebrating Juneteenth in far reaches of the globe and they don’t have the context. Which is how you get Juneteenth ice cream and Juneteenth Vaseline.
"It’s too important to the fabric of Houston’s history, to America’s history, to the history of the slaves that came and laid the foundation for what we know as Houston today that all of America is celebrating -- the wonderful Black culture and music and expressions that have come from Houston. People need to understand the context."
So, we are ready to do that work, because we are not going to see the Cinco de Mayo of Juneteenth, where people say it’s tacos and beer and no one actually knows the true history. It’s too important to the fabric of Houston’s history, to America’s history, to the history of the slaves that came and laid the foundation for what we know as Houston today that all of America is celebrating -- the wonderful Black culture and music and expressions that have come from Houston. People need to understand the context. So, it’s evolved because it is time and we’re ready and I think the consciousness of the collective community is ready. And so, I’m excited to see what we do and I’m excited to continue this inaugural effort in collaboration with everyone.
Finish this sentence: My Black is ________.
Courtesy of Lauren Greer
Black history is American history. As an educator, how are you seeing Juneteenth being taught in school systems, if at all?
So, that’s interesting just because as an educator, just in light of all the things that have happened recently, there’s some conversations about critical race theory and things of that nature, and because I am in an urban school district, there have been lots of initiatives just around all things cultural diversity and things of that nature. I will say though, as far as just teaching Juneteenth in and of itself, I still haven’t seen that in the classrooms. However, I’m also in an elementary school setting as well. So, it looks a little bit different than what it looks like say in middle school or high school or something like that.
This is the first year, though, where they have the actual holiday on the school calendar. So, my kiddos are off on June 20, that Monday. This will be the first time ever that that’s happened. There are lots of schools in our district. We have different calendars that are already on summer break, but my babies are not on summer break yet. So, we will actually experience the national holiday for Juneteenth while we are still in school. So, while there are initiatives for cultural diversity, Juneteenth still is not a primary focus, as of yet.
As a Texan, has Juneteenth always been something that was celebrated by you and your family? Please explain.
Yes. A lot of the things that I learned, like all things Black history and Black culture, things like that I actually learned at church. Because, the neighborhood I grew up in was a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood, but my church was always Black American. So, from Black history plays, to Juneteenth, to picnics in the park, to the parades that come with it, all of that has always been a part of my upbringing. So, it was not uncommon to literally go to the neighborhood park for all of these things -- for picnics, and just, you know, games, and things of that nature.
Learning all the history that comes with all that was just an embedded part of what I learned in church all the time. And, then just my mom, she just wanted to make sure that we knew our history and so literally I grew up hearing about this all the time in my household, on Sundays or Wednesdays, Vacation Bible Schools, all of those things is the space that I really learned all of the things Black history and Black culture.
How do you celebrate and honor Juneteenth now?
All things Blackity Black Black Black to be completely honest. Usually, getting with friends, picnics, hanging out in the backyard, just reminiscing on history. But, we kind of live it every single day. So, now that there’s a national holiday for it, so to speak, that doesn’t change how we’ve always felt about it, it doesn’t change how we always felt about our culture. It’s given us a space to embrace it a little bit more. Just because of all the things that have happened in our nation in the last few years it’s kind of really drawn light to some things. So, it causes us to be more aware of our culture and also more proud of our culture and who we are as well.
And, so, we take those opportunities on a daily basis to kind of reminisce, but on that day we like to get together and kind of hang out and chill together as well. So, that will probably likely happen again this year. We will all probably get together at somebody’s house just to be around each other.
Finish this sentence: My Black is __________.
When I thought about that question, the cliche answer is 'beautiful.' But, then, as I was thinking about it again this morning -- my Black is needed. I really believe that all of us have been given an assignment on the earth. And I really believe that there’s something that I bring to the table that someone else doesn’t bring, and there’s something that someone else brings to the table that I don’t bring. So, I feel like it is so needed. There has been a target out for our culture for so long, and I feel like we cannot allow society to keep subtracting from our culture.
"There are people that need us to stand in the gap. There are lessons that need to be learned from each and every last one of us. And there is wisdom that needs to be poured into the land. And, each one of us has a responsibility to do that."
Whether it be through entertainment, whether it be through politics, whether it be through education we can’t allow that because we are needed. There are people that need us to stand in the gap. There are lessons that need to be learned from each and every last one of us. And there is wisdom that needs to be poured into the land. And, each one of us has a responsibility to do that. Lauren has a responsibility to do that too, in all of Blackness and all of her educated-ness. The world needs that, and so my Black is needed.
Residential Loan Officer
Courtesy of Ebony Parker
What does Juneteenth mean to you?
Juneteenth to me is a representation of perseverance and displays our ability to make lemonade out of lemons at any time. It is us, as a people, continuing to get the leftovers but making them appear as a five-course meal. Juneteenth is the beginning of laying the foundation for our future as the freedom finally granted was the work of our ancestors, but the starting point for us to be able to accomplish the many things we have accomplished. Without the notification of freedom, we would still be sitting on the sidelines, unfortunately. Instead, we are now the trendsetters that everyone is continuously trying to duplicate, unsuccessfully.
As a born and raised Texan, has Juneteenth always been something that was celebrated by you and your family? Please explain.
Unfortunately, Juneteenth wasn’t always celebrated for me. The school system, especially in Texas, has always taught a watered-down and quite often inaccurate version of history, typically leaving out any representation of Black people outside the role of slaves (which unfortunately the textbooks now also consider us as “workers” instead as that narrative makes them appear innocent versus revealing the genocide and cruel things done to my ancestors and even more unfortunate are the things that are still occurring daily). My mother, too, was uneducated on the significance of the day and unable to pass down the knowledge.
"Juneteenth is the beginning of laying the foundation for our future as the freedom finally granted was the work of our ancestors, but the starting point for us to be able to accomplish the many things we have accomplished."
Therefore, I began educating myself on Black culture in college and embraced Juneteenth while finding less of a desire to celebrate July 4 as it along with other “federal holidays” wasn’t an inclusive holiday for those of us that didn’t meet the “standard."
How do you celebrate and honor Juneteenth now?
I like to do all things Black at an exponential level. I ensure that I don’t allow myself to drift towards code-switching. I spend time with my loved ones being unapologetically me. I ensure to be intentional in educating my children and peers. But, more importantly, I celebrate the day by setting a new goal to crush that will further my family, community, and culture.
Finish this sentence: My Black is __________.
My Black is simply Ebony! It is beautiful, intelligent, excellence, confident, sassy, trendsetting, nurturing, loving, and perseverance!
UTHealth Graduate Student
Courtesy of MyKayla Searles-Houston
Why do you think it's important for younger generations to learn about Juneteenth?
I think it is important for the younger generation to learn about Juneteenth because this is our history. This is a part of our culture, especially being Black and from Texas. And, I think it's important to hear from our community and families because oftentimes we are taught history from a narrative or perspective that is not centered in Blackness. So, learning about Juneteenth should be something families talk about with all age groups because one day it'll be the younger people's responsibility to pass down this information.
"I think it is important for the younger generation to learn about Juneteenth because this is our history. This is a part of our culture, especially being Black and from Texas."
How do you celebrate and honor Juneteenth?
I usually celebrate Juneteenth by hanging out with my friends or family! Somebody may barbecue, or we will go to local community festivities which are always nice. There is usually some great food around which is one of the best parts! Honestly, I just love being surrounded by Black people who show love to each other, and being together on Juneteenth is another way for us to express ourselves and have some fun!
Finish this sentence: My Black is __________.
My Black is loving, intentional, and full of care and compassion.
Featured image courtesy of Ebony Parker