Big Freedia Book Discussion and Dance Party, Alphabet Rockers Concert and Afro-Latin Storytelling Artists Highlight a Month of Music Celebrations

News Release, Smithsonian Institutes

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture announces the June 2019 public programs schedule, including special music programming for children. Highlights include a book discussion and dance party featuring Big Freedia, the celebrated “Queen of Bounce,” with Karamo Brown; the Washington, D.C., premier of The Last Black Man in San Francisco; and ¡Nosotros Gente! (We the People!), a bilingual performance-program and discussion that celebrates the shared oral traditions of African Americans and Americans of African and Latino descent. All events at the museum’s Oprah Winfrey Theater also will be live-streamed at All programs are free unless otherwise noted.

Cinema + Conversation: The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Friday, June 7: 7:30 p.m. (Oprah Winfrey Theater)

The Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA) will screen A24’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco, a poignant and sweeping story of hometowns and how the people who love them keep them alive. Lead character Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend, Mont, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind. A discussion with the film’s cast—Joe Talbot, Jimmie Fails, Tichina Arnold and Rob Morgan—will follow the screening. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Washington columnist Jonathan Capehart will moderate the panel. Registration is required:  

What’s Your Story? Researching, Writing and Publishing Your Family History
Saturday, June 8: 12 p.m. (Robert F. Smith Family History Center, 2nd floor)

Linda Crichlow White, author of Back There, Then: A Historical and Genealogical Memoir will offer examples of how family community history has local, regional, national and international impact on everyday people. White will explain the writing and publishing steps she used for her book and offer suggestions for others considering producing similar work. RSVP by emailing

NMAAHC Kids on the Rise! Concert with the Alphabet Rockers
Friday, June 14: 3 p.m. (Museum Grounds)

To celebrate the end of the school year, the Alphabet Rockers will join NMAAHC for an exciting afternoon of music and dance outside on the museum grounds. The Alphabet Rockers are a multi-racial, intergenerational hip-hop crew with 10 years of experience performing for young children, ages 5 to 10. Led by Kaitlin McGaw and Tommy Shepherd, the group’s mission is to inspire kids to stand up to hate and be their brave and beautiful selves. An inter-cultural team of anti-bias thought leaders, educators, artists and parents collaborate on the Alphabet Rockers’ music, videos, concerts and curriculum. Registration is required:

National History Day Student Documentary Showcase
Wednesday, June 12: 10:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. (Oprah Winfrey Theater)

This program will feature student documentaries created for the National History Day (NHD) competition. The museum will screen 23 documentaries from students in grades 6 to 12 who qualified for NHD’s national competition. This event is free and open to the public. No registration is required. After 1 p.m. on Wednesday, museum visitors can walk up for entry without a timed passes.

Investigating the Contributions of Dr. Charles Drew
Saturday, June 15: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Designed for educators of grades 4 to 6, this teachers’ workshop will engage in activities based on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) principles behind the research and medical work of Dr. Charles Drew and develop awareness of the importance of culturally responsive teaching and learning in science classrooms. Dr. Drew was an early 20th-century African American physician and blood transfusion researcher. His research and scholarship laid the foundation for modern blood banking through the creation of blood collection and storage techniques. Registration is required at

Harambee! With Baba Ras D (2nd Floor Gallery)
Wednesday, June 19: 11 a.m. (Reoccurs Wednesday, June 26) 

In Swahili, harambee means “all pull together.” In this program, artist Baba Ras D will perform a one-hour interactive program for children to dance, play drums, shout and sing along to songs that build character, confidence and community. Created by Baba Ras D, whose name means “Father of Kings and Queens,” Harambee! is an engaging, hands-on experience for children to celebrate learning through movement and song. With more than 10 years of experience in youth development, education, and conflict resolution, Baba Ras D promotes the principles of empathy and inclusiveness. Harambee is designed for children ages 3 to 6 but all ages are welcome. Registration for this program is suggested After 1 p.m. on weekdays, museum visitors can walk up for entry without a timed passes.

NMAAHC Live: Big Freedia!
Saturday, June 22: 7 p.m. (Heritage Hall, the museum’s main entry hall)

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, Big Freedia, celebrated “Queen of Bounce,” will discuss her memoir, God Save the Queen Diva, with Karamo Brown, culture critic of Netflix’ Queer Eye and author of Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing and Hope. The violent reaction to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 was an important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the United States. Following the discussion, Big Freedia will host a short dance party with DJ Bembona. Big Freedia is a New Orleans-based rapper and ambassador of Bounce music, an energetic style of New Orleans hip-hop music. Admission is free, on a first come, first seated basis. Signed copies of Big Freedia’s and Brown’s books will be available for purchase courtesy of Smithsonian Enterprises. This program is presented in collaboration with Smithsonian Latino Center (@SLC_Latino) and Smithsonian Pride Alliance. No registration is required.

Young Historians Institute
Monday June 24 to Friday, June 28: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Young Historians Institute is a rigorous weeklong program hosted by the National Museum of African American History and Culture for rising high school students in grades 10 to 12. In this program, young historians will practice the historical thinking skills that define the work of professional historians. Students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in history through discussions, analyze primary sources from Smithsonian collections, visit a historical site, engage with experts in the field, and produce content for an interactive tour experience. Interested students should apply at Students have until June 19th to sign up.

A Seat at the Table: The Concept of Well-Being
Friday, June 28; 6:45 p.m. (Heritage Hall)

During this edition of A Seat at the Table program series, panelists will gather to explore ways to maintain a sense of well-being in various incarnations——thankfulness, contentment and fulfillment—during periods of communal and personal upheaval. Invited panelists include HawaH, author, artist and community educator; and museum specialist Teddy Reeves from the museum’s Center for the Study of African American Religious Life. Tickets for this event are $40 per persona and registration is required

¡Nosotros Gente! (We the People!) 
Afro-Descendants: Telling Our Stories, Empowering Our People
Sunday, June 30: 4:00 p.m. (Oprah Winfrey Theater)

Hosted by the Center for Study of African Diaspora (CSAD) in collaboration with the Inter-American Foundation, this bilingual (English/Spanish) program will feature live performances by global artists and educators with African roots. Five featured performers will connect the oral traditions of African Americans and Afro-Latin Americans through music, song and storytelling. Oral traditions such as storytelling have shaped, empowered, and connected Africa-descendent cultures and communities around the world. Following the performances, a panel of oral historians, storytellers and cultural historians will discuss the history and role of black oral traditions. The program is dedicated to storyteller and folklorist, Juan García Salazar (1944-2017), who donated the first object to National Museum of African American History and Culture’s collection: a boat seat, featuring a carving of Anansi the Spider, the African folktale figure, that represents an ancestral bridge between West Africa and the Americas. Registration is required at h

About the National Museum of African American History and Culture 

Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed more than 5 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat—or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...