10 Things To Watch This Juneteenth Weekend

Networks and streamers have programmed movies, series, and special events to commemorate the new national holiday that observes the end of slavery in America.

by | June 18, 2021 | Comments

Friday Night Vibes, Soul of a Nation, Miss Juneteenth

(Photo by TBS, ABC/Jeff Neira, Vertical Entertainment)

Networks and streamers have lined up programming this weekend to honor Juneteenth, as of this week an official federal holiday observed on June 19. The holiday commemorates the end of slavery in Texas, two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on January 1, 1863.

Here are a few offerings you can catch to educate and entertain your family over the holiday weekend.

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The film, directed by three-time News Emmy nominee Rachel Boynton (Big Men, Our Brand Is Crisis) who also produced the documentary with Erika Dilday, travels across the United States, exploring how Americans tell the story of their Civil War. Filmed from President Obama’s final year in office through the present, it interweaves insightful scenes and touching interviews filmed North and South, painting a uniquely crafted, multi-faceted portrait of the American psyche and the deep roots of its turbulent times.

Available by subscription on Kanopy (free) and BET+; on demand at Vudu, Amazon, Apple TV+, and elsewhere; the film is also being re-released in theaters for the holiday
A former beauty queen turned hardworking single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the Miss Juneteenth pageant, hoping to keep her from repeating the same mistakes in life that she made. The film stars Nicole Beharie, who earned a Best Actress Gotham Independent Film Award for her performance, Kendrick Sampson, and newcomer Alexis Chikaeze, who earned a Best Supporting Female Actress Independent Spirit Award nomination

Say It Loud, “Juneteenth: Freedom and the Fine Print”

PBS Video App and
The PBS Digital Studios series celebrates Black culture, context, and history. Hosts Evelyn from the Internets and Victor Jackson give you a comedic take on identity and pop culture, from Black pride movements to Black Twitter shenanigans.

The series takes viewers on a culinary journey that ventures from Africa to the deep south. Adapted from food historian Jessica B. Harris’ book of the same name, the immersive four-episode docuseries — part culinary show, part travelogue — follows food writer Stephen Satterfield as he meets the chefs, historians, and activists who are keeping centuries-old traditions alive. Over Western African stews, soul food, barbecue, and fine dining, the series, directed by Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams, reveals an expansive, eclectic culinary history shaped by slavery, the Civil War, Juneteenth, and present day. It’s a story of Black America’s resilience, enduring creativity, and vital contribution to America’s kitchen.

Friday, June 18

Friday Night Vibes

7:30 p.m. ET, TBS
Hosts Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) and Deon Cole (Black-ish) welcome in-studio guests Snoop Dogg and Tina Knowles-Lawson in the premiere of Friday Night Vibes, a celebration of life, cultural diversity, special behind-the-scenes moments and authentic conversation. The weekly lineup will include thoughtfully selected movies that are filled with storylines and characters viewers love and vibe with and special guests will be announced accordingly. The schedule kicks off with Creed and Creed 2.

Juneteenth: Together We Triumph – A ‘Soul of a Nation’ Special Event


(Photo by ABC/Jeff Neira)

9:01 ET, ABC (available the next day on demand and on Hulu)
Leslie Odom Jr. will guest host two hours of intimate storytelling and powerful tributes with performances by Jimmie Allen, Chloe Bailey (of Chloe x Halle) and Leon Bridges. Good Morning America co-anchor Michael Strahan sits down for a one-on-one interview with former President Barack Obama about race, resilience and Obama’s book A Promised Land. The event will include stories by ABC News anchors and correspondents: Linsey Davis on allyship and collaboration, Deborah Roberts on Black cuisine, Kenneth Moton on the stimulus package and Black farmers, Janai Norman on a new wave of bold artists, Steve Osunsami on Black business, and Zachary Kiesch with more unaired footage of his “Soul of a Nation” interview with H.E.R.

9 p.m. ET, National Geographic (available to stream the next day on Hulu)
The film, from National Geographic Documentary Films partners with filmmaker Dawn Porter, follows award-winning Washington Post journalist and Oklahoma native DeNeen Brown reporting on the search for a mass grave in her native state. Digging into the events that led to one of the worst episodes of racial violence in America’s history, Brown reveals insights into racial conflict incidents that erupted in the early 20th century. Between 1917 and 1923, when Jim Crow laws were at their height and the Ku Klux Klan was resurging across the nation, scores of Black homes and businesses were razed, and hundreds of Black people were lynched and massacred with impunity.

Saturday, June 19

10 p.m. ET, SundanceTV
Revisit the story behind the iconic images that shocked the world in 1968. This 2020 film explores the motives, the fallout, and the reverberating repercussions behind John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s gesture on the winners’ podium during the 1968 Olympics. Can We Talk About This?, a discussion led by Jordan Carlos, will run alongside the film with guest panelists NBA Hall of Famer Chris Bosh and NFL player Kareem Jackson of the Denver Broncos discussing how these issues continue in current times.

PBS Video App and
The 90-minute documentary challenges one of Americans’ most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The film tells how even as chattel slavery came to an end in the South in 1865, thousands of African Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality.

Fight the Power: The Movements That Changed America

8 p.m., History
Executive produced and narrated by NBA legend and social justice advocate Kareem Abul-Jabbar, and Deborah Morales of Iconomy Multi-Media & Entertainment, the one-hour documentary looks at the impact key movements throughout U.S. history have had in shaping our society, laws, and culture. From the labor movement of the 1880s, women’s suffrage, and civil rights, to the LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter movements, protest is in the American DNA and this documentary gives an unfiltered look at the ways it has evolved the world in which we live.

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