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Juneteenth Shop Black Festival a success, Black community members say they 'deserved' it

The Juneteenth Shop Black Festival was virtual last year. This year, the event was a full-day celebration downtown featuring more than 50 black owned businesses.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — People were downtown at Fourth Bluff park pouring into black-owned businesses. The organizer of the first in-person Juneteenth Shop Black Festival, Cynthia Daniels said it was all about people coming together to celebrate and support the Black community. 

Daniels organized a virtual Shop Black festival last year, which featured nearly 100 black-owned brands. This year, her event was a full-day celebration downtown.

“How do we make juneteenth synonymous with doing things in the black community?" she said. "So shopping black, being intentional about shopping with black business to me is a way to make sure we are paying homage to our ancestors."

Intentionally pouring money into Black businesses is exactly what people did today. 

"It feels amazing, amazing. I love this. It is beautiful (we are) in a beautiful city with beautiful people, having a good time," festival-goer James Mitchell said.

 The park was filled with people shopping from the 50 plus local and out-of-state black businesses. From food trucks, unique vendors, and live music, festival-goers said Saturday's event was well earned. 

 "We deserve a day, we deserve a month, we deserve a year and should and shall be celebrated by the world because we've done so much for this country," Sarita nelson another festival-goer told Local 24.

While Juneteenth shines a light on supporting black businesses for the day, doing it once a year isn't enough. 

"Shop with your people. Help them keep going. Help them have a good livelihood. We've been shopping with other people for so long, shop with your people," Mitchell said.

You can find a list of black-owned businesses in the Memphis Black Business Directory. Daniels said a second festival will be held next year at Shelby Farms Park. You can contact cynthia@cdcoevents.com for information about being a vendor.