The Flea --- Juneteenth Free Events - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Monday, June 3, 2024

The Flea --- Juneteenth Free Events
















The Flea announced today their fourth annual line-up of Juneteenth public performances. These Black artists, through their virtuosic practices, will stage public performances in celebration of Juneteenth. The Flea’s Artistic Director, Niegel Smith, will also participate as a performance artist.


This year, The Flea fully embraces the West African concept of Sankofa, with artistic expressions that touch upon the past and reach into the future. With an amazing group of visual artists, dancers, poets, actors, and multimedia artists, this year’s celebration of Black freedom is designed for the whole family to enjoy.



The Flea’s Artistic Director, Niegel Smith, believes “Juneteenth is just one step of many toward our liberation and I'm thrilled for New York City to meet the liberatory art and vision of this cohort of artists. They all get the body swaying, the voice singing, and speak necessary truths to our world. I can't imagine a more exciting way for The Flea to mark this holiday - free and accessible to all!


“There is no better way to for Americans to celebrate Juneteenth than by experiencing Black art,” says The Flea’s Executive Director, Dr. Lauren Britt-Elmore. “This holiday is the embodiment of the idea that no one is free until everyone is free. And artistic expression is freedom. The Flea has been deeply connected to this pivotal day since its refounding. We are so proud of the artists we’ve gathered this year for every generation to enjoy.”


Each work is featured on a different day throughout the city starting June 15th and ending on Juneteenth, June 19th. The Flea’s Juneteenth program centers the full creative expression of the artists. Giving artists the independence to interpret Black liberation is what gives The Flea’s Juneteenth programming its variety and excitement. 


To reserve tickets, please visit





The Worthy, by Niegel Smith

Saturday, June 15 at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM


Location: The African Burial Ground Monument


Featuring Talu Green and Niegel Smith


Join an afro-futuristic griot (Niegel Smith) on a Juneteenth walk exploring our city through the lens of black love and queer liberation. Co-led by Talu Green with his commanding Djembe drumming, The Worthy is a performance that will take you through the African Burial Ground National Monument, past civic buildings and through the streets of lower Manhattan as we celebrate the intrinsic worth of Queer Black folks. The walk concludes at The Flea.



Liberation Play, by Chicava Honeychild / DuYe Moves

Sunday, June 16 at 1:00 PM


Location: 405A Colonels Row, Governors Island


Featuring Derick CrossKathryn DavisChicava HoneychildAngel Kaba


Liberation Play is an activation day to celebrate Juneteenth at DuYe Moves' lawn space on Colonels Row on Governors Island. Designed to synergize performance, participation, and expression, the day begins with Kathryn Davis offering QiGong for Liberation. She will guide participants through a QiGong set that frees the mind and relaxes the body. These moves will serve DuYe Movers long after the day’s lesson in their everyday lives. Poet Derick Cross will perform and hold space for guided open mic expressions of Personal Liberation. Angel Kaba’s Afro’Dance New York will bring joy and happiness through a class suitable for all body types and levels, along with a performance. Throughout the day, Danie Herard will offer her Soul Art making workshop, guiding students through a process to create beautiful works of art with pen & ink and watercolor.



Performance Discipline(s):

Afro’Dance - QiGong - Poetry - Art Making



Flea Dream Machine

Wednesday, June 19 at 7:00 PM


Location: Lincoln Center's David Rubenstein Atrium transformed into an Afro Future Garden designed by Mickalene Thomas & Lutfi Janania


Featuring Aleah AlexanderAlicia AlexanderLiza Jessie PetersonAlicia Pilgrim


Who do we want to be in the next 10, 20, 100 years? The Flea Dream Machine invites you into an embodiment of our most fabulous, evolved selves. At momma Nona’s request, we are taking over Lincoln Center's David Rubenstein Atrium with music, dance, sensual poetry and inventive looks to share with you. You’ll step into our Afro-Future in this immersive and jubilant experience for all. 



*Check for up-to-date information about each performance.


The Flea was refounded in 2021 with the mission to support and invest in experimental art by Black, brown, and queer artists. The Flea provides space, financial support, producing partnerships,and other resources so that they may develop and share their vision in the community with audiences.




Niegel Smith is a Bessie Award-winning theater director and performance artist. He is the Artistic Director of NYC’s Obie Award-winning theater, The Flea, and a board member of A.R.T./New York. He has helmed the productions of theatrical concerts by John Batiste, Taylor Mac, Suzan-Lori Parks, Lady Rizo and En Vogue; music theater works including The Hang, Plays for the Plague Year and The Ritual of Breath Is the Rite to Resist; and the world premieres of new plays and musicals at The Alley, Goodman Theatre, The Flea, HERE Arts Center, Hip Hop Theatre Festival, Magic Theatre, Mixed Blood, New York Fringe, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Summer Play Festival and Under the Radar. His participatory walks and performances have been produced by Abrons Arts Center, American Realness, The Brooklyn Museum, Dartmouth College, Elastic City, The Flea, The Invisible Dog, Jack, The New Museum, Prelude Festival, PS 122, the Van Alen Institute and Visual AIDS. He is the recipient of the Black Theater Alliance Award for Best Direction, a Bessie Award, Van Lier Fellowship, Warner Bentley Award, Tucker Fellowship, Arkowitz Prize, the Shoenhut Service Award and Sainthood from The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. 


Rasaan ‘Talu’ Green (Percussionist for The Worthy). Percussionist and Composer Rasaan ‘Talu’ Green (he/him)’s performances include Fela! on Broadway, the Brooklyn Nets, Soutsatzka the Musical, and MAZE, along with band collaborations with Ms. Patti Labelle, Ms. Lauryn Hill, The Roots, Aloe Blacc, Estelle, and H.E.R. Green has performed globally in Africa, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. He is a resident musician with Resura Arkestra and provides musical arrangements for dance companies and master workshops throughout New York City. He holds a BFA in music from Long Island University. “My drum creates more than sounds; it celebrates the power of art, culture, and humanity.”


Chicava Honeychild is the Creative Director of DuYe Moves, a community arts initiative that offers free dance, wellness, and live arts programming as an Organization in Residence on Governors Island. For twelve years, Chicava served as the Creative Producer of Brown Girls Burlesque, crafting political and theatrical burlesque from a Black woman's perspective. As an artist in residence at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater, she produced “The Dirty Honey Shake,” a live blues & jazz burlesque revue. BGB’s annual show at the Brooklyn Museum was a crowd favorite. Taking burlesque to unexpected places was a theme for BGB’s provocative showcasing work at prestigious venues like Yale School of Art, The New Museum, and The Kitchen, as well as SunCity Casino in Macau, China. As a scholar of burlesque, she is a leader in unearthing the heritage of Black women in the form. Artistic projects include Becoming Bettie Page, collaborating with Dick Zigun, founder of The Mermaid Parade, and Coney Island USA, the eponymous musical which tells the story of the iconic pinup performer. My directorial debut, Skinimin by JenArmas, is a stage play re-envisioned to film through BRIC Media’s Intimate Eye program. She holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College, an Associate in Fashion Design from Parsons and is a proud HBCU graduate with a Bachelor’s in Fashion Marketing from Hampton University. 


D.Cross (Derick Crossis a Brooklyn-based multi-dimensional vocal and visual performance artist and arts educator. He creates imagery and vocal art that transcends and crosses the boundaries of genres and labels. This "Vocal Beat Expressionist” uses “vocal acrobatics” to create sonic collages of his poetry combining words, raps, and beatboxing. He has performed nationally & internationally in venues including Madison Square Garden, SOB's, BB Kings The New Vic Theatre, Caroline’s, and Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. Mr. Cross was selected as a cultural hip-hop ambassador for The US State Department's Next Level program. He recently served as a Hip hop Cultural Diplomat in Azerbaijan & The Philippines D.Cross has been featured on MTV, The Electric Company Nickelodeon, TV Land & BET's “106 and Park.” His vocal talents have been featured on the award-winning AFLAC “Pigeon Rap” ad and 7-Up ‘s “10” campaign. He was the Hottest Poets $10,000 Spoken Word Grand Champion of 2002/03 as well as a member of their international slam team of 2003. D.Cross’ visual arts has been exhibited nationally & internationally (Sweden& Brazil). His artistry is currently featured in Dr Myrah Brown Green’s award-winning art anthology Brooklyn On My Mind. Cross‘s work can be found as part of the collections of Erykah Badu, Ed Lewis, Ruby Dee, Judith Jamison, Kool Herc, Big Daddy Kane, and Bashiri Johnson. In 2007 he was honored by former Senator Velmanate Montgomery as a notable Clinton Hill/ Fort Greene Brooklyn artist. Mr. Cross is also an SVA (School of Visual Arts) graduate (Bachelor of Fine Arts) who has worked as an Arts Educator teaching youth visual arts and poetry for over the past two decades.


Angel Kaba is an International artistic director and award-winning choreographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Angel has more than 20 years of experience in art production, youth development, and women empowerment. Angel holds an honor BA in Marketing Management from the Brussels Business School. Currently, she is a faculty member at Broadway Dance Center, Alvin Ailey Extension, and Steps on Broadway. Angel is an NYFA alumnus from IAP (Immigrant Artist Program), a board member on the Steps Support Black Artists (SSBA), supported by Steps Beyond foundation in New York City to empower Black voices in the arts of dance; and lately join the DEAR community of artists from Caribbean Cultural Center and African Diaspora Institute. Angel is also the founder of the platform Afro Dance New York, fiscally sponsored by NYFA, created in 2016 to celebrate diversity, community, and global culture. As a well-respected African Caribbean woman from The Republique Democratique of Congo and Martinique, Angel is passionate about uplifting black experiences and stories from around the globe.


Liza Jessie Peterson is an artivist; an actress, playwright, poet, author, and youth advocate who has worked steadfastly with incarcerated populations for more than two decades. Her critically acclaimed one-woman show, The Peculiar Patriot, had successful runs at the National Black Theater (NY), Arts Emerson (Boston), Woolly Mammoth (Washington, DC) and Detroit Public Theater. The play was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, Elliot Norton and a recipient of a Lilly Award. It is available on Audible. Liza performed The Peculiar Patriot in 35 prisons across the country and a documentary, Angola Do You Hear Us; Voices from a Plantation Prison, features her historic performance of The Peculiar Patriot at Louisiana State Penitentiary (aka Angola) which is streaming on Paramount Plus and Amazon Prime, and was shortlist for an Academy Award. Liza is currently writing the pilot for a television series in development with Felicity Huffman and John Wells Production. Her memoir, ALL DAY; A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island (Hachette Publishing) was commissioned by The Old Globe Theater to adapt the book into a stage play, and she has developed a TV pilot based on the book. Liza was featured in Ava DuVernay’s Emmy award-winning documentary,13th, and was a consultant on Bill Moyers documentary Rikers (PBS). Also known for her exceptional poetic skills, Liza began her poetry career at the Nuyorican Poets Café and appeared on two episodes of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Liza appeared in Showtime’s mini-series, “Everything’s Gonna Be All White,” by Sacha Jenkins. She can be seen in “A Luv Tale” (BET+), Love the Hard Way (co-starring with Pam Grier and Adrien Brody) Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, and K. Shalini’s A Drop of Life. Liza wrote and starred in two short films, MERLINA and Black Love Manifesto, both won several festival awards. For more info on her projects, visit her website at

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