Black Theatre Girl Magic to celebrate Juneteenth with a pair of Orlando events

Black Theatre Girl Magic’s “Facets of Freedom” 2023 event photo by Tyla Talbutt, Viewhouse Productions)

ORLANDO | Black Theatre Girl Magic, a nonprofit organization helmed by Black queer women that cultivates a community for Black and Brown artists to celebrate their identity, is preparing for their upcoming Juneteenth event.

This year’s event will take place over two days, with the first being a “Lunch and Learn” family-friendly event on June 15, from 2-6 p.m., and the second being their “Facets of Freedom” event on June 19, starting at 6 p.m.. Both events will be held at the Orlando Family Stage.

“There are a lot of historical and cultural barriers to getting people out to events and we wanted to try and alleviate those as much as possible,” says Caila Carter, Black Theater Girl Magic’s managing director. “One by holding an event on a Saturday, so it’s not something where you have to worry about like I can come to this but my kids can’t because of x,y,z. We are providing food, there are a lot of games, there will be book readings and staged and directed readings of a short play called ‘Nothing Rhymes with Juneteenth.'”

“Facets of Freedom” attendees are invited to enjoy interactive art installations, delicious food, cocktails created with Black-owned spirits, and engage with local vendors selling African American arts and crafts.

Beginning at 7 p.m. the Black Theatre Girl Magic Annual Showcase will feature performances and speakers that work to celebrate the “multifaceted nature of freedom.” The event’s overall goal is to honor Juneteenth’s rich historical and cultural significance, while empowering, educating and uniting the arts community.

The acts within the showcase are meant to highlight different “facets” of expression, allowing them to show the diversity of African American culture. Attendees will see theatrical performances, spoken word poetry with live music and dance, among other pieces.

The organization blossomed out of the feeling of scarcity its founder and executive director, Mandi Jo John, had while auditioning for primarily white institutions.

“It was just this sense of we’re all here for the same role and it can only be one of us, whereas when it was shows that were primarily Black or ethnic or POC cast it just wasn’t like that, It was an entirely different feeling and sense in the room,” says Carter. “Even though we all knew we were all up for the same roles … but we were all rooting for each other and supporting each other. There wasn’t that feeling of scarcity in the room that there was in other auditions.”

After seeing the increase in advocacy and activism during the COVID-19 pandemic and after the death of George Floyd, the organization wanted to take a moment to celebrate during so much turmoil.

“We decided at that moment that we were going to take a break from the labor and celebrate,” says Carter. “our inaugural Juneteenth celebration birthed out of this desire to celebrate Black art, Black culture, around the historical significance of Juneteenth and how art is intrinsically woven into Black liberation and the struggle for Black liberation. That’s where this desire for this celebration came from and it happens to coincide with 2021 being the year Juneteenth was made a federal holiday.”

Since its inaugural Juneteenth celebration in 2021, the event has continued to grow each year. Attendees have continuously expressed excitement for what’s to come, even before the current year’s event has even finished.

“It can be very heartening to see the people that come out, the people who say that they learned something, the people who are uplifted by the experience, the people who are enamored by the culture in a way that is expressing appreciation and is not appropriative,” says Carter.

Black Theatre Girl Magic organization takes pride in its inclusivity, a philosophy they espoused is that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” believing that by advocating for “what Jesus called the least among us” there is opportunity to lift up everyone.

“By lifting up Black women, by advocating for all the intersectionality that being a Black woman, in particular being a Black queer woman, entails we lift up everybody and that has always been the goal,” Carter says.

The 4th Annual Juneteenth Lunch and Learn Kids Event will happen June 15, from 2-6 p.m. Admission is free to this event.

The 4th Annual Facets of Freedom: A Celebration of Juneteenth will take place June 19, starting at 6 p.m. Admission to this event is $20 in advance and $25 at the door, and are available to purchase here.

Both events will take place at Orlando Family Stage, located at 1001 E. Princeton St. in Orlando.

For more information on these events and to learn more about Black Theatre Girl Magic, visit

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