By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]
On April 16, 1862, eight months prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved Blacks were freed in the District of Columbia, and 157 years later, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of Cable, Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME) is keeping that history and celebratory moment alive with weeklong festivities to commemorate the historic occasion.
“This is a very historic moment for D.C.” Director of OCTFME Angie Gates told reporters on a press call for the Emancipation Day Concert, which will take place on April 13.
The concert is at Freedom Plaza, located at the corner of 14th Street N.W. and Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., from 3 p.m.- 8:45 p.m., with headlining artists Faith Evans, Doug E. Fresh, Kenny Latimore, MYA, Master Gee of Sugar Hill Gang, EU Featuring Sugar Bear, Frederic Yonnet, Spur of the Moment, Ayanna Gregory and Passion Band. Radio talent including Little Bacon Bear of WKYS 93.9 FM, will host the event, and DJ Rico of Majic 102.3 FM will DJ.
In addition to the musical component, there will also be a parade prior and fireworks after the concert.
“We’ll have several of our local school bands participating in the parade,” Gates said.
Further, this year’s Emancipation Day will also have an educational component for students.
“We’re doing things prior to the actual day celebrations such as educational toolkits the day before,” Gates told the AFRO.
Besides the entertainment, the Office of Community Relations will be onsite the day of the parade and concert to answer questions and concerns for residents. OCTFME representatives will also be there to offer additional information about working with their office and collaborate with local artists.
“Our goal is to have something for everyone,” Gates said.
Director Gates suggests people to arrive early in order to get a good spot on Freedom Plaza and fully enjoy the festivities.
“We encourage people to come early. Bring their lawn chairs, bring their food,” she said.
Last year there were about 4,000 people who attended the Emancipation Day festivities and the Director suspect this year will be even bigger in terms of crowd and performances.
“The goal is for this to get bigger and bigger each year,” Gates told the AFRO.