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By Tosh Owens
Tulsa families and visitors from around the world gathered on the lawn in the Historic Greenwood District, home to Black Wall Street, to participate in the nation’s largest celebration commemorating the end of institutional slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865. Tulsa’s Juneteenth celebration, held June 16 – 18, 2022 , had over 100 years of deep-rooted history, and attracted 53,500 visitors, according to Tulsa Juneteenth organizers.
This year’s celebration came with a bang from the headlining music group Con Funk Shun.
“This is our first time performing in Tulsa. We have roots in Tulsa; my mother and grandmother are from Tulsa,” Mike Cooper, founding member of Con Funk Shun, told The Black Wall Street Times. “It’s a double for us; we get to come to celebrate Juneteenth and throwdown! It’s an honor for us to be there and participate.
Con Funk Shun performed in Historic Greenwood
Cooper spoke about the education system during his time and the lack of being educated about what took place on Black Wall Street.
“We weren’t taught about slavery in our school system.” Mike said. “These things that they have suppressed are now coming to light. I’m getting re-educated on what happened in Oklahoma. All of the pictures and videos were suppressed. I got an awakening of what the hell happened, and I was appalled.”
Lastly, Mike spoke about the importance of celebrating Juneteenth for the culture.
“There are a lot of tentacles sticking out of celebrating. It’s about black pride and black forward motion, Mike said. “When it comes to education, education is the key! You must not stop at high school. You must go to college and further your education.”
“We as a community should be focusing on these three tentacles; education, awareness, and reunification of black people,” Mike added.
Mike Cooper and the Con Funk Shun band also say they have some new projects in the works.
“We are recording a new project due in late August,” Cooper said. We are also releasing the Con Funk Shun Christmas album that we’ve been holding on to.”
In 2023, Mike Cooper will be releasing his book on Love Train; The Life, The Love, The Man, The Music!