Celebrating Juneteenth 2023 – Get to Know the Artists, Performers, and Leaders Behind Juneteenth Santa Barbara’s 2023 Block Party

Posted on

Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans in Texas were informed of their freedom on June 19th, 1865 – a full two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Black/African American communities across the country have marked Juneteenth with celebration and organizing efforts centered on supporting and uplifting Black life. 

In 2018, forward thinking community members, Simone Ruskamp, Chiany Dri, and Jordan Killebrew, brought a reiteration of Juneteenth back to Santa Barbara as several Black/African American Elders have celebrated in our region in the past.

Juneteenth Santa Barbara’s annual event has grown each year, with an array of Black community members sharing their stories and showcasing their work and collective histories. 

For 2023, Juneteenth Santa Barbara welcomes the community at large to their fifth year of celebrating Juneteenth in Santa Barbara! Their free block party celebration will be on Sunday, June 18 2023, from 12 pm to 5 pm, in historically Black Santa Barbara, also known as the Funk Zone, on the 200 block of Gray Avenue.  The theme for this year’s community block party is “Nourishing The People,” honoring the cultural connection of Black/African-American food food and its ancestral ties to community.

The celebration includes live local music, dancing, poetry, spoken word, artist exhibitions, soul food, and a community social food cookout. They will also have the Black Artisan Market, which includes Black-led community organizations showcasing their work at their own booths.

We’re excited to experience Juneteenth SB’s Block Party Celebration and are thrilled to see the recognition of these individuals’ talents and contributions to our community. We’ve included some information about the artists and the founders below in hopes that you’ll be inspired to support, connect and collaborate with them well beyond this year’s festivities. 

Meet the artists:

Co-Host: Vivian Storm

Vivian is a Drag Entertainer and certified Health and Life coach based in Santa Barbara, California. She received her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership. You can find her creating and facilitating spaces of joy for the LGBTQ+ community and Allies. She is also a soul singer-songwriter passionate about bringing people together.  Her love for creating spaces of joy has been the driving force of her entertainment career. Vivian appreciates being able to connect with the audience on self-loving ideas such as inclusivity, love, growth, and reflection. Alongside being a performer, Vivian provides workshops on a multitude of topics including gender and self-love.

Co-Host: Warren B. Ritter II

Warren Ritter is the Executive Director of the Common Table Foundation and an active leader within Santa Barbara County and the Central Coast at large. As a community-oriented connector, Warren aims to make meaningful differences in our education, non-profit, and political sectors through strategic collaborative partnerships and community participation. In his free time he enjoys reading, playing basketball, and practicing on his piano and/or guitar. Warren is active in several non-profits and has served, advised, or is currently serving on the following boards/commissions: Common Table Foundation, Creative Wealth International, Endowment for Youth Community, The Fund for Santa Barbara, Healing Justice SB, Human Services Committee of Santa Barbara County, Juneteenth SB, Martin Luther King Foundation, and more!

Musical Performer: Talitha Gabrielle

Talitha Gabrielle (she/her) is an acoustic guitarist and singer-songwriter who records and performs original music influenced by popular Neo-soul/R&B, Pop, and Hip-Hop artists. Born and raised in Hampton, VA, she resides in Santa Barbara, CA. Her music can be found on all platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify.

Musical Performer: The New Vibe

The New Vibe is a Psychedelic, New Age, Old School Funk band out of Santa Barbara, California that means all colors and creeds. They have toured Arizona, Nevada, Laughlin, Las Vegas, and all over California. They have Opened and TOURED with Morris Day and the Time, Atlantic Star, Roger and Zapp, Jon B, and Others.

Dance Performer: P Money Experience

Paris, better known as P$, is a well-known choreographer, instructor, creative director, and dancer in the 805. Paris has been in several professional dance/training opportunities with Samantha Caudle, Melissa Barlow, Eric Bellinger, Candice Craig, Hiphop Mindset, D Main, and more. She has competed on Latin TV and Hiphop International, making it to the semi-finals. Paris is the founder and creator of The P$ Experience and P$ Academy.

Welcome Speaker: Sojourner Kincaid Rolle

Sojourner Kincaid Rolle is a poet, playwright, environmental educator, and cultural and peace activist. She served a two-year term as Santa Barbara’s Poet Laureate and is known for her work raising awareness of BIPOC history throughout the County. Her poems have appeared in the publications California Quarterly, Coffee Press, Squaw Review and others. Her current book, “Free at Last” is a children’s book that showcases her poem on Juneteenth and was published in 2022. Sojourner is a 35-year resident of Santa Barbara, and is heavily involved as a guiding elder for the Juneteenth Santa Barbara and Healing Justice Santa Barbara organizations. Through multiple school and public programs, she uses her craft to engage poets young and old.

Music: DJ Tempest

With over 30 years experience in the mobile DJ business, DJ Tempest has seen it all… and loved every minute of it! He’s possibly Santa Barbara’s best kept secret and we are lucky to have him on our team of professional MCs and DJs. DJ Tempest has been involved in the Central Coast DJ scene in a variety of capacities – as house party DJ, club DJ, promoter, corporate event support vendor, and sound technician, wedding and private event host/DJ and more. DJ Tempest has always had a deep love for playing music for others and fell in love with the art while in elementary school, in his hometown of Pomona, California. He specializes in Hip Hop, Pop, and R&B – but can mix all genres as a result of his extensive corporate event and Wedding DJ experience. When you book you event with DJ Tempest you can be assured that your guests will have the time of their lives. DJ Tempest is an excellent MC and host, and a spectacular DJ – you’ll have your dance floor packed all night!

Blessing & Libations: Dr. David N. Moore

The Rev. Dr. David N. Moore, Jr. is a pastor, theologian, human rights advocate, story-listener, adjunct university professor, and writer living in Santa Barbara. David is a University of California Santa Barbara alum and leads Santa Barbara’s Beloved Community Church, and also Jesus Collective, an online community which exists to foster wholeness and equity by healing relationships and cultural divides, honoring the dignity of all peoples, and protecting the biodiversity of our planet, through actively listening, understanding, partnering, and serving. David was initially appointed by the late Bishop J. A. Blake to Santa Barbara’s church, now called New Covenant Worship Center. After 10 years, the Southern California District of Foursquare Churches invited him to lead one of their churches in Oxnard. David wanted to stay with the New Covenant Church, so he proposed serving in Oxnard while remaining at his current church. After prayerful consideration, Foursquare officials assigned David to the Oxnard Church. He now serves both churches.David’s Master’s degree is from St. Stephen’s University in New Brunswick, Canada. He earned his doctorate in theology at the University of South Africa.

Black Artisan Market & Other Vendors

Meet the Founders:


Simone Akila (she/her/her) is a Black woman who loves Black people. She is a co-founder of Juneteenth Santa Barbara as well as Healing Justice Santa Barbara. She has led numerous successful campaigns for justice in Santa Barbara and currently is one of the driving forces behind the forming police oversight commission in Santa Barbara. 


Chiany Dri (she/her/hers) is a mixed race Black Latina, born and raised on Tongva land in Los Angeles, California. She is a mother of three, an organizer, justice worker and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. 


Jordan Killebrew (he, him, his) is a Queer Black person with an abnormal love of community. As the Director of Communications at the Santa Barbara Foundation he and his team promote and enhance the Foundation’s identity through marketing and communications strategy, social media, publications, public relations, advertising, and events.

We’re so excited to see the performances and goods on display and want to thank the leaders behind Juneteenth Santa Barbara for bringing these artists and artisans together to make this year’s celebration possible. Additionally, we thank them for all that they do for Santa Barbara and beyond.

These brief introductions merely scratch the surface of these leaders’ impressive history of work within the Santa Barbara community. To learn more about their many talents, and deep level of involvement in Juneteenth Santa Barbara and other local organizations visit: https://juneteenthsb.org/roots

More Posts

Previous Post

Next Post

Card image cap
Celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month in Santa Barbara

At Oniracom, we are committed to creating a culture of belonging and inclusion where diverse individuals can form a healthy, collaborative community. Pride Month is an opportunity for us to demonstrate that commitment, and a time in which vibrant diversity and love are celebrated. We encourage you to join in the festivities, and participate in the following events taking place in our community this Pride Month. …

Read More
Card image cap
5 Exciting Ways to Celebrate Plastic Free July in 2023

Plastic Free July is a global movement that empowers individuals to take action against plastic pollution, creating cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. At Oniracom, environmentalism and community engagement are integral to our culture and history. We’ve worked with many sustainability-focused organizations over the years and continually seek new ways to become an even greener business. We are proud to help reduce plastic waste in the entertainment industry and support NGOs, artists, venues, and for-profits in acting sustainably.

We’ve compiled a list of 5 exciting ways to celebrate and participate in Plastic Free July this year. Read on to get inspired and join in on the activities….

Read More