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Juneteenth: Honoring black excellence in arts and music


Juneteenth is a powerful reminder of the end of slavery in the United States. Also known as Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day, this holiday has its roots in Texas, where it was first celebrated on June 19, 1866. It is a beautiful commemoration of freedom and resilience, symbolized by prayer meetings, singing spirituals, and wearing new clothes. Over time, it has become a cherished annual tradition celebrated by African Americans across the country.


Juneteenth: Honoring black excellence in arts and music
Juneteenth: Honoring black excellence in arts and music

This Juneteenth, we are honoring excellence in arts and music as we aim to showcase visual artists, photographers, musicians, and more representing the black community and culture.


Gloria Gaynor
Gloria Gaynor
Gloria Gaynor

Gloria Gaynor, born Gloria Fowles on September 7, 1943, near Newark, New Jersey, is an American recording artist and musician known for her disco performances in the 1970s. She is most famous for her timeless anthem "I Will Survive".


Darien Robertson
Darien Robertson
Darien Robertson

Darien Robertson is a Jamaican photographer who currently resides in Fukuoka, Japan. He specializes in portraits, commercial, and editorial photography. His extensive experience in photography and advertising allows him to effectively collaborate with clients, understanding how both creative elements work together to produce high-quality content.


Jared Malik Royal
Jared Malik Royal
Jared Malik Royal

Jared Malik Royal is a director and visual artist who focuses on creating work that embodies bold surrealism, and thoughtful balance and reflects the unconventional experiences of countercultures in film, music, and design.


Gabrielle Guy
Gabrielle Guy
Gabrielle Guy

Gabrielle Guy is a visual artist and a current PhD researcher specializing in portrait and documentary photography.


Brittany Howard
Brittany Howard
Brittany Howard

Brittany Amber Howard, born on October 2, 1988, is an American musician from Athens, Alabama. Presently, she is a solo artist known for her role as the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and primary songwriter of the band Alabama Shakes. Her significant contribution to Alabama Shakes earned her four Grammy Awards, including Best Alternative Music Album, from nine nominations. In addition, Howard has been involved in side projects such as Thunderbitch, where she played bass, and Bermuda Triangle, where she showcased her talent on both acoustic guitar and double bass.


Tierra Whack
Tierra Whack
Tierra Whack

Tierra Helena Whack (born August 11, 1995) is an American rapper and singer. She initially performed as "Dizzle Dizz" as a teenager but later reverted to her birth name in 2017. Her debut mixtape, Whack World, was released in May 2018 and received widespread critical acclaim. Her song "Mumbo Jumbo" was nominated at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards for Best Music Video. Whack has since collaborated with Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Tyler, the Creator, Chief Keef, and Melanie Martinez.


Whack, in collaboration with popular skateboarding and street apparel company Vans, has pledged to donate musical equipment and a $10,000 grant to five public high schools in Philadelphia. This is part of her effort to give back to the same community where she grew up.


Moe Gram
Moe Gram
Moe Gram

Moe Gram is an artist based in Denver, CO, who works with various mediums including painting, mural, collage, and installation. Gram graduated from California State University Bakersfield with a major in Visual Arts and a minor in Cultural Studies. During her time at the university, she took part in a 6-month museum studies and studio art program in Florence, Italy. Currently, Moe's art can be found in murals across Colorado, an installation at the Denver Art Museum's Creative Hub, as well as at the Arvada Center and Empower Field at Mile High. Her work is also displayed in various locations across the Denver metro area and the state of Colorado. Moe Gram’s art stands out with its distinct, engaging, and thoughtful nature. Through her use of playful color palettes, messaging, and the juxtaposition of unique embellishments and found objects, Moe’s work encourages viewers to absorb and reflect, aiming for personal growth and collective well-being.


Ryan Runcie
Ryan Runcie
Ryan Runcie

Ryan is a studio artist, muralist, and public art administrator based in Austin, Texas. He travels frequently for art creation and engagement. Regardless of the themes in his work, Ryan always approaches his art with a desire to understand.


Born to Jamaican parents in small-town Texas, Ryan considers himself fortunate to have had the unique experience of growing up as a biracial, first-generation American man. In his youth, he was able to test and blur lines that he didn't know existed.


Ryan's art represents a delicate and experimental effort to blur boundaries on a public platform. By using loose expressions of color, he aims to bypass the human need to categorize and stereotype based on race and ethnicity. His goal is to prompt viewers to reflect on their emotional response to the artwork and consider the intentions behind it. Through this, he hopes to encourage empathy and understanding.


Esther Sweeney
Esther Sweeney
Esther Sweeney

Esther Sweeney is a Kenyan lawyer and an advocate of the High Court of Kenya who has become a self-taught artist, portrait, and documentary photographer. Her work focuses on highlighting various social issues, mostly concerning African women and girls. Inspired by Black women, life, texture, colors, and culture, Esther takes great pride in capturing African women in their element and credits them as her main inspiration. She is particularly interested in exploring the intersection of social issues in contemporary Africa and the role played by women in society. Esther's ultimate goal is to capture and highlight social issues that affect African women, especially the advancement of women's rights in Africa. She hopes to contribute to finding solutions to these issues and challenges by creating conversations around these topics through her work.


How you can give back


As a minority- and woman-owned organization, we believe in honoring black excellence by supporting artists and black-owned businesses every step of the way. Here are some ways you can contribute:

  1. Be intentional. Are you looking to support small Black-owned businesses but don't know where to find them? Consider using apps like Nextdoor or community boards like Craigslist to connect with businesses in your neighborhood or city. Create a post asking who could benefit from some extra business, and wait for the responses. This is also a great way to start a conversation about the importance of supporting each other.

  2. Write and share reviews of Black-owned businesses. If you've had positive experiences with Black-owned businesses, please share them on popular review platforms. In 2021, 88 percent of all reviews were from the top sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Tripadvisor according to ReviewTrackers.com. Other sites like Etsy also have wonderful creatives. After making a purchase and enjoying it, leave a great review. Every compliment makes a difference.

  3. Recommend Black-owned businesses in person and on social media. Please create content where you explain why you think this business is worth paying attention to. Include some photos or a video and the business's website. If there is a physical address, please include it as well. The key is to make the message simple for other potential customers to find and support the business. Make sure to tag the business so they can be notified. Since billions of people use social media platforms every day, the potential reach is tremendous.

  4. Build relationships with Black-owned businesses. Another way to show support is to provide exposure. Small business owners are often too occupied running their businesses to promote themselves. Help them by establishing and nurturing valuable relationships.


If you come across a Black-owned business that is facing challenges, consider offering mentorship and providing resources. Many organizations can help, such as the Black Business Association, Black Founders, and the Coalition to Back Black Businesses. This coalition is a joint effort between American Express, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Business League, the U.S. Black Chambers, and Walker’s Legacy.


There are many ways to show support for everyone in the community this Juneteenth and all days of the year. For organizations interested in advancing their DEI agenda and addressing their organizational development and technology needs, consider partnering with our team at ATS+Partners today.



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