UCLA’s African American studies department presents the “Prelude to Juneteenth Day Celebration: A Multimedia Event” on Wednesday, June 5, at Royce Hall. Honoring the history of emancipation, the event reflects on the journey toward freedom and equality through the universal language of art with music, dance, spoken word and more.

Highlights of the event include the world premiere of two works — “Symphony No. 4,” which is also known as the “Juneteenth Symphony,” by Earl Louis Stewart and “Sundiata Keita Overture” by Cheryl Keyes — as well as performances by well-known artists such as violinist Karen Briggs and alumnus dancer Bernard Brown. The night will also feature vocal soloists, choral performances from spirituals to gospel music, West African dance ensemble, spoken word, smaller instrumental combos and an orchestra with guest conductor Antoine T. Clark.

The program is organized into four parts: pre-transatlantic slavery in a salute to West African empires; transatlantic slave trade and Black life in 1619; enslavement to freedom; and aspects of contemporary Black life in the United States.

This event was funded in part by the Chancellor’s Arts Initiative and the Mellon Foundation, with additional support by units such as the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies and the office of the dean of social sciences.

Admission is free to the general public. Tickets can be reserved online.

Celebrated annually nationwide since the late 1800s, Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. It was declared a federal holiday in 2021 by President Joe Biden.


Wednesday, June 5, 7 p.m.


  • Cheryl Keyes, chair of the department of African American Studies, professor of ethnomusicology and global jazz studies, and producer of the event
  • Karen Briggs, multi-genre violinist
  • Bernard Brown, Los Angeles-based choreographer and dancer
  • Antoine T. Clark, maestro and conductor
  • Medusa the Gangsta Goddess, freestyle lyricist
  • African American Music Ensemble, student vocal group led by director Diane White-Clayton at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
  • DC6 Singers collective, professional acapella and gospel ensemble

See more info about performers and artists online.


Royce Hall, UCLA, 10745 Dickson Court, Los Angeles, CA 90095


For media credentials and other inquiries, contact:
Barbra Ramos bramos@stratcomm.ucla.edu 310-844-3582