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The Betsy Hotel Announces Events to Honor Juneteenth 2021


Carole Ann Taylor

The Betsy Hotel announces two events to honor Juneteenth 2021. Both are presented in partnership with the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce and Florida International University Miami Beach Urban Studios. No tickets are required and the programs are free and open to the public.

Juneteenth — a combination of “June” and “nineteenth” - recognizes the date that formerly enslaved African Americans were informed that they were finally free. Though African Americans have long celebrated Juneteenth, the National Museum of African American History and Culture notes ‘this monumental event remains largely unknown to most Americans.” Juneteenth celebrations remind us that freedom and racial equality have always been and continue to be a hard-fought battle for African Americans. The Betsy and its community partners envision that this year’s Juneteenth celebrations will inspire honest conversation about societal inequities that continue to threaten, disrespect, and devalue the lives of African Americans and also provide a forum to celebrate African American excellence.

Arts Celebration LIVE Event on June 19


Allen Paul

From 6 PM to 11 PM, it’s LIVE JAZZ in the Lobby of The Betsy Hotel, with pianist Allen Paul. Also featured is Carole Ann Taylor, who will host, this indoor event, and perform with guest musicians Brenda Alford, Nicole Yarling, and Lisa Richards. Allen will begin on the piano at 6 PM, with vocalists/instrumentalists joining to perform one set each at 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30 PM. Patrons may order dinner and drinks during the performance.

Brenda Alford

From 9 PM to 9:30 PM, it’s LIVE POETRY and MUSIC at The Betsy Poetry Rail, in the Alleyway adjacent to the hotel, where the public is invited to enjoy poetry presented by poets Rebecca Butterfly Vaughns and Geoffrey Philp. Vaughns is well known for spoken word improvisations that make meaning of history by weaving facts and feelings together in a vibrant lyrical way. Philp is a contemplative contemporary page poet who will read his own work and the work of the great African American legacy poet Langston Hughes. Peace activist and jazz saxophonist Gregory LeDon will improvise with the poets.

DeAnne Connolly Graham

Hosting the outdoor event is DeAnne Connolly Graham, recently appointed by Mayor Dan Gelber to the Miami Beach Black Affairs Advisory Committee, Chair of the Women’s Business Council and Member of the Pillar Board and Board of Governors of the Miami Beach Chamber; and André L. Williams, Esq., Co-Chair DEI Council, and member of the Pillar Board of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.

André L. Williams

Community Panel/Conversation Zen and the Art of Juneteenth Via ZOOM


Kunya Rowley

The Betsy will release Zen and the Art of … Juneteenth on Monday, June 14. The program features community leaders discussing the history and meaning of Juneteenth. Featured participants include Dr. Valerie Patterson, FIU Professor and Director of the African and African Diaspora Studies Program; DeAnne Connolly Graham, recently appointed by Mayor Dan Gelber to the Miami Beach Black Affairs Advisory Committee, Chair of the Women’s Business Council and Member of the Pillar Board and Board of Governors of the Miami Beach Chamber; and André L. Williams, Esq., Co-Chair of the Miami Beach Chamber’s DEI Council, and member of the Pillar Board; Heather Shaw, Assistant Director of Tourism and Culture for the City of Miami Beach; and Kunya Rowley, Director of the Juneteenth Celebration for the City of Miami Beach, and founder/director of Huesongs, a nonprofit dedicated to celebrating Black culture.

Hosting this program is Dr. Deborah Briggs, VP Arts and Community Engagement at The Betsy Hotel, and John Stuart, AIA, Executive Director of FIU Miami Beach Urban Studios. It is the 60th and final event of a cultural connections series called ‘Zen and the Art of …’ that was collaboratively created by The Betsy Hotel and FIU. More than 15,000 households have been touched through the project since its inception in March 2020.

About The Betsy-South Beach


The Betsy-South Beach (The Betsy) is a multi-award-winning socially-conscious hotel with a 21st Century commitment to helping neighbors locally, nationally, and internationally through the lens of arts and culture. The Betsy is located at 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139, in the heart of Miami Beach’s historic Art Deco District. You can find information visiting www.thebetsyhotel.com.


By ML Staff. Images courtesy of the Betsy Hotel