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Juneteenth 2022: A Black Excellence Extravaganza

The legacy of freedom, perseverance, and prospects of prosperity rang this Juneteenth, unifying the community in celebration. Juneteenth marks a time for celebration, where cities all around the United States elevate the spirit of Black Excellence, by hosting galas, festivals, and soirees. The Black Professionals Network’s city of origin, Miami, kicked off a series of events for Freedom Week, entitled Juneteenth University, founded by BPN founder Kenasha Paul.

Councilwoman Kassandra Timothe City of North Miami, Kenasha Paul, Founder and CEO, Miami Chapter President Dreema Stokes and Vice President Dr. Whitney Watkins, Ed.d. Photo Credit: AJ Shorter Photography

To kick off Freedom Week 2022, a BPN networking mixer hosted by the City of Miami’s Councilwoman Kassandra Timothe at the Wildcat Center was a foray into the Black excellence that continued throughout the weekend. In addition to Councilwoman Kassandra Timothe, a wide variety of South Florida political figures were in the building, including Commissioner Daniela John, Councilwoman Mary Estime-Irvin, Councilwoman Linda Julien, and more.

Like many a BPN event, the mixer attracted a diverse crowd of industries and professions, from politicians to business owners making for a dynamic function. However, in theme with the celebration of Juneteenth, the mixer included a photo booth, savory soul food bites like shrimp and grits draped in martini glasses, and freedom punch cocktails.

Photo Credit: AJ Shorter Photography

Following the Juneteenth mixer, a Juneteenth gala ensued this past Friday in Aventura, hosted by Power star Naturi Naughton, with a special appearance by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levine Cava. Black professionals showed up in elegance, donning all Black to mark the occasion in the style and flair the hallmark of the Black community.

Black Professional Network Juneteenth Freedom Gala Sponsored BY: TRADESTATION Photo Credit: AJ Shorter Photography

The Juneteenth Freedom Ball sponsored by Tradestation and drink sponsor Remy Martin, consisted of an evening of captivating music, words of inspiration and motivation, and an opulent ambiance perfect for many a photo opportunity. The night wouldn’t be complete without dancing of course; with traditional dances like the cupid shuffle and electric slide busted out on the dance floor.

Black Professional Network Juneteenth Freedom Ball sponsored BY: TRADESTATION Photo Credit: AJ Shorter Photography

In the spirit of the holiday, Saturday’s Inaugural Juneteenth NPHC Step Show and drumline competition demonstrated the soul and rhythm innate to the culture, hosted by Miami legend Uncle Luke. Over a thousand people came to the historic Julius Littman Theatre to enjoy a friendly competition between the beloved divine nine fraternities and sororities and South Florida’s talented high school drumlines.

While the step show was the grand finale of the Freedom Week celebration, it’s only the tip of the iceberg as Juneteenth University’s programming will continue all year long, defining Black Excellence throughout the seasons.

Photo Credit: AJ Shorter Photography

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