Juneteenth musicians recap Saturday performance

Photo provided by Kelontae Gavin

By Emma Stone

Downtown Ruston hosted its third annual Juneteenth Celebration in Railroad Park; these award-winning musicians recap their performances and future goals. Performing artists included Kelontae Gavin, James Fortune, Cornelius Jackson and with a local interdenominational choir.

Cornelius Jackson, a Grambling student, won the Juneteenth Independent Gospel Artist Competition and opened the event.

“When I think about last night and winning the concert, I think about the word of God says, ‘Eyes have not seen and ears haven’t heard the thing that I have for you, then living shall not be in vain’,” said Jackson.

Kelontae Gavin, an award-winning Gospel artist, performed his hit songs.

Gavin began using social media as a platform to promote his music. As a child, he endured traumatic events, but works to inspire others.  

“As hot as it was outside, it was extremely cool to dance and sing under the sun, celebrating the freedom of a nation within a nation,” said Gavin. 

Gavin is best known by his billboard and radio singles “No Ordinary Worship” and “Higher.” 

James Fortune, Grammy nominated Gospel singer, is best known by his debut CD, “You Survived” that was released in September 2004.

Fortune was nominated for two Grammy awards in 2012. His most popular songs include his recently released song “Trusting God.”

Due to weather, the event ended early before Pastor Mike Jr. could perform. However, he aspires to come to next year’s Juneteenth celebration.

“I cannot wait to come back to Ruston,” said Mike Jr. “The love they showed me was indescribable in spite of me not being able to perform.”

Pastor Maurice White, chairperson for the Real Change in Ruston Committee and pastor for the Zion Traveler Baptist Church, commented on the number of people who attended.  

“It was awesome to see our community come out in great numbers to see some of the greatest Gospel Artists of our time as we celebrated freedom,” said White.