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BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: Alicia Keys, John Legend, Sweet Honey to celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) is a holiday commemorating the day in 1865 that news of emancipation reached the last group of enslaved black people in Galveston, Texas, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, making slavery illegal. 

Now with celebrations more popular than ever, several artists are taking to the internet to bring recognition of the day into homes.

The highest profile event looks to be the latest in the hugely popular VERZUZ series on Instagram this time pitting R&B superstars Alicia Keys and John Legend face to face with their music catalog of hits. It kicks off at 5 p.m. for two hours or more. 

Also at that time, beloved singing group Sweet Honey In The Rock is presenting an interactive experience of spirit and song with special guests Danny Glover, Sonia Sanchez, Aloe Blacc, Jenifer Lewis, Gina Belafonte, Bryan Stevenson, Rev. William Barber III, Kiki Shepard, Jordan Ware and Sophia Dawson

You can participate in one of two ways. Honor the spirit of the day by purchasing a $19 ticket (benefitting the Equal Justice Initiative) to sit in the front row of their interactive audience via Zoom video conference, where you will be seen by the performers and fellow attendees as well as adding your voice to a post-performance discussion.

Or watch the event via Facebook, YouTube or at www.sweethoneyintherock.org/juneteenth.

Earlier, at 4 p.m.; Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess, Teyonah Parris, Ephraim Sykes and LaChanze are among the performers participating in the inaugural “Antonyo Awards” recognizing the Black Broadway and Off-Broadway community on Broadway Black’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

Also, American Slavery Project website and YouTube channel is partnering with 11 award-winning theaters for a special presentation of “Black Women and the Ballot,” three short radio plays featuring Phylicia Rashad and others that will be available nationwide and virtually for the first time June 19 at 4:30 p.m.

Later, Grammy nominated world music-contemporary jazz band Special EFX with Chieli Minucci resumes its concert tour promoting their 21st album, “All Stars,” at 8 p.m. when they take the stage of Southern California jazz hot spot Spaghettini for a show performed in front of half the normal capacity in order to comply with Orange County restrictions. It will be streamed live via Spaghettini’s Facebook page.

CLIPPETTES: Director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “The Equalizer,” “The Magnificent Seven”) is teaming with Will Smith to bring a true slavery escape tale “Emancipation” to life. It begins filming in early 2021

The music of Lionel Richie is being turned by Walt Disney Studios into a life-action movie musical called “All Night Long,” which he will produce

Emmy winner Joe Morton, Blair Underwood, Tisha Campbell and Godfrey The Comedian are some of the actors on board for a reading of Charles Randolph-Wright’s Cuttin’ Up based on the book “Cuttin’ Up: Wit and Wisdom From Black Barbershops” by Craig Marberry. The livestream will be available for free viewing on June 21 at 3 p.m. For more information visit cthnyc.org …

HBO launches its first-ever digital Pride on the Human By Orientation site through June 28 with free programming including musical headliners like Todrick Hall, a drag brunch hosted by the “We’re Here” cast, underground DJ sets, queer comedy night featuring Cameron Esposito and more

Roy Ayers JID002,” a new album pairing the legendary vibraphone player considered “The Godfather of Neo-Soul” with instrumentalist Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest fame, is now available from Jazz Is Dead Records  

Amanda Seales, the “Insecure” comic/actress who recently stepped down from her perch on “The Talk,” has been named host of this year’s “BET Awards” to be simulcast for the first time on CBS. The ceremony, expected to be a big night for top nominees Drake and Megan Thee Stallion, is set for June 28.

STANDING O: Ovation TV is presenting a 24-hour block of programming highlighting black achievement in the arts on June 19 kicking off with Run-D.M.C. at 6 a.m. Look for specials featuring Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Prince, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Halle Berry, Michelle Obama and a host of others.

TC ON TV: June 19 – “Sherman’s Showcase” (AMC/IFC): The fictionalized “Soul Train” spoof series starring Bashir Salahuddin (“Top Gun: Maverick”) and Diallo Riddle (“Marlon”) returns on Juneteenth with a one-hour “Black History Month Spectacular,” honoring historic African-American icons both past and present, alongside superheroes, period dramas, vampires and a very special re-imagining of the cult film “The Last Dragon.” Guest stars include the music world’s Phonte, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter; actors Michael Ealy, Lil Rel Howery, Terrence J and Mario Van Peebles; journalist Jemele Hill and more.

June 20 – “American Trial: The Eric Garner Story” (Reelz): An unscripted courtroom drama that presents the case that never happened against the NYPD officer who was videotaped choking Garner, who gasped “I can’t breathe” several times, to death in 2014. Real-life prosecutors and defense attorneys are employed to conduct a mock trial using the actual evidence, witnesses (including his widow Esaw Snipes-Garner), expert testimony and rules of criminal procedure; with the audience and viewers becoming the jury. 

June 21 – “John Legend and Family: A Bigger Love Father’s Day” (ABC): A variety special with celebrity dad appearances by Stevie Wonder, Anthony Anderson, Shaquille O’Neal, Common, Scottie Pippen, Marlon Wayans, Ne-Yo for starters. “United We Sing: A Grammy Tribute To The Unsung Heroes” (CBS): Harry Connick Jr. hosts this two-hour special celebrating America’s essential workers with appearances and performances by Queen Latifah, Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Jon Batiste, Andra Day, Jamie Foxx, Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Rockin Dopsie, Irma Thomas, Trombone Shorty and many more. “The Chi” (Showtime): The third season will launch with a pre-online hour concert special at 4 p.m. on the series YouTube page (where you can also peep the episode beginning June 19) with executive producers Lena Waithe and Common, cast member Jacob Latimore, Twista, Ravyn Lenae, Jamila Woods, BJ The Chicago Kid and MFnMelo. “The Beat Don’t Stop” (TV1): DC’s Go-Go music and culture popularized by the late Chuck Brown is examined in this documentary featuring insights from rapper Doug E. Fresh; band members from Junk Yard Band, Trouble Funk, E.U., Backyard Band and others. “Tournament Of Laughs” (TBS): 32 comedians face off to out funny each other in an elimination decided each week by viewers. Gina Yashere, Paul Rodriguez, Jeff Ross, Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Rapaport and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog are among the competitors. 

June 23 – “American Masters” (PBS): “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” is an artful and intimate meditation on the legendary Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author that examines her life, her works (such as “Beloved,” “The Bluest Eye,” “Sula” and “Song of Solomon”) and the powerful themes she has confronted throughout her literary career. In addition to Morrison, the film features new interviews with Angela Davis, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez and Oprah Winfrey. “Greenleaf” (OWN): The fifth and final season begins with a battle for the Memphis megachurch’s leadership. “Celebrity Show-Off” (TBS): This unique remote talent competition series gives celebrities including Ja Rule, Dwight Howard and Nene Leakes, the opportunity to see who can produce the most compelling content from the comfort of their own homes.

June 24 – “Crazy Delicious” (Netflix): Carla Hall is a judge for this competition show daring home chefs to reinvent classic dishes. 

June 25 – “The Twilight Zone” (CBSAA): All 10 episodes of the second season of Jordan Peele’s reboot of the classic TV anthology series will drop at once for your binging pleasure. Its stellar cast includes Billy Porter, Jurnee Smollett, Morena Baccarin, Kylie Bunbury, Natalie Martinez, Chris Meloni, Paula Newsome, Daniel Sunjata and Damon Wayans Jr. (in an original story written by Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes)!

TASTY CLIPS: “Look at what we’re doing. We’re using music to bring people together of all races, of all genders – for Black lives. We have to get to protests and we have to get to voting. 100 million people did not vote in the last election. We are battling three candidates: Donald Trump, Joe Biden and apathy. And we have to fight apathy more than anything. And we have to fight for black lives, and right now, if we don’t do that, nobody will. We’re the ones. WE ARE. We are the chosen ones. We can change this.” – Jazz musician and “The Late Show” bandleader JON BATISTE, who composed the new anthem “We Are” (Verve) for the movement. 

As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at tastyclips@yahoo.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.