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Buckhannon musician to perform during West Virginia’s Juneteenth celebration

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA) recently announced the lineup of artists selected to perform for this year’s virtual Juneteenth celebration, which includes headliner Montell Jordan; the former R&B singer best known for “This is How We Do It” before leaving the music industry to become a pastor.

The program will also feature musicians, dancers, and poets from West Virginia. The event will stream live on HHOMA’s Facebook page on Saturday, June 19, at 5 p.m., and will also air on West Virginia Public Broadcasting the same day at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Montell Jordan as the event’s headline performer,” HHOMA Director Jill Upson said. “He is providing 30 minutes of entertainment during the livestream, which is beyond exciting.”

Jordan’s 1995 hit single, “This is How We Do It,” topped Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks. A former choir singer and a graduate of Pepperdine University, he became a pastor with a church in Georgia. On his Facebook page, Jordan describes himself as “husband, father, pastor, artist, author.”

“We look forward to celebrating this momentous occasion with Montell, as well as all the talented West Virginians who will also be performing, and everyone who tunes in to watch,” Director Upson said.

The West Virginia artists selected to perform in the Juneteenth celebration are:

  • Kelly Coberly, song, Buckhannon
  • Appalachian Children’s Choir, song, Charleston
  • Ashlyn Bell, dance, Charleston
  • Capital High School VIP Show Choir, medley song
  • MaKinsey Cline, baton dance, Gilbert
  • Dale Kat Duvernay, poetry, Charleston
  • Brandhi Irvon, song, Morgantown
  • Alondra Johnson, song, Charleston
  • Aristotle Jones, song, Morgantown
  • Kingston and Mark Price, music, Charleston
  • Charles Shelton Jr., music, Charleston
  • Smoochie and the Heavy Hitters Band, music, Montgomery
  • Victoria LaVonne Wilburn, poetry, Huntington

The 2021 event marks the first time West Virginia Legislature has recognized June 19 as Juneteenth Day, the oldest African-American holiday observance in the United States.

“President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but it was a full two years – June 19, 1865 – before the thousands of slaves in Texas were given the good news,” Director Upson said. “They broke out in celebration and we have honored June 19 as Juneteenth Day ever since.”

The virtual event is sponsored by Charleston’s FestivALL and the Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission.

The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, which operates within the Office of Governor Jim Justice, is committed to assisting all underserved citizens across West Virginia and developing innovative ways to address issues affecting minority populations through conversation, education, leadership, and collaboration. For more information, visit our Facebook page at @WVHHOMA, our website at minorityaffairs.wv.gov, or call our office at 304-356-2023.

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