LANGSTON’s “We Out Here” Juneteenth Event Rocks Seattle’s Pier 62

WOH2: The Mahogany Project performs a dance before the crowd. “We Out Here”
attendees were the first to watch their latest show, “The Magic In You.”

On June 18, Seattle’s Pier 62 boomed with music and the smell of fresh southern comforts drew in crowds that reached nearly 2,000 people. The pier was adorned with a mini soccer field, dance floor, giant chess mats, and black business spotlights—all in honor of Juneteenth.

Titled “We Out Here On The Pier,” this Juneteenth celebration from LANGSTON, a nonprofit
dedicated to programs centered on Black art, sought to celebrate Black existence and
excellence in the Seattle area while commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in Texas.

The day kicked off with music from Stas Thee Boss and JusMoni, who curated the days’
performances. Their opening was followed by a welcoming message from LANGSTON’s Director of Programs and Partnerships, Jazmyn Scott, the event’s creative visionary, Michael B. Maine, and David Rue, Programs Coordinator at Friends of Waterfront Seattle (FWS), an organization that oversees the pier .

Maine began his speech to the crowd by addressing his reasons for starting the “We Out Here” project, at an annual Juneteenth festival hosted by LANGSTON. He acknowledged his perception that few Black people existed in Seattle was untrue and he sought to bring Seattle’s Black community together. He was awed by the crowd that showed up to share in his dream.

“Just looking out here makes me want to cry,” Maine said while he gazed over the people
gathered around the stage. “Look at all these people out here celebrating our existence.”
He ended his address by inviting attendees to indulge in fun, music and food — served piping hot out of trucks from Dat Creole Soul and SoSo Good, along with sweet treats from All City Ice Cream and The Donut Mama. Attendees were encouraged to work off their meals at the provided spin cycles, where Mikey Cain, otherwise known as Coach Myke, led her Crunk Cycle 206 class with hip hop beats and shouts of encouragement.

Music and performances from JusMoni, Stas Thee Boss, TAQUEET$!, The Mahogany Project and Larry Mizell Jr. entertained crowds that averaged 432 people per hour. Attendees were the first to watch The Mahogany Project’s “The Magic In You,” comprised of original music, colorful outfits, and awe-inspiring dance sequences that quickly drew people around the stage.

“We Out Here On The Pier” also featured two Black, women-owned businesses: Ola Wyola, a jewelry store known for its handcrafted soul chains, and Nia Onelove, operated by Seattle Public Schools teacher Anisha Noriega. Her sales supported her mission to serve children and teachers both locally and in Jamaica. Additionally, Washington’s Department of Health partnered with LANGSTON and FWS to provide walk-up COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots to more than 40 adults and children by the end of the event.
“My son and I used to come down right across the street from here,” Noriega said. “It’s wild
how much has changed. I never imagined the pier like this.”
Yet according to Rue, this is only the beginning of changes to Waterfront Park.

“I want you all to know that we are on 1/20th of what’s going to be a 20 acre park that’s
happening all down this street,” he said to the crowd. “Part of our jobs here is to activate this site. And part of that is activating it through incredible programming like this.”
LANGSTON’s “We Out Here On The Pier” was the organization’s second partnered event with Friends of Waterfront Seattle (FWS). The day’s success had Brandon Shell, an Ambassador with Community Passageways, asking whether LANGSTON’s next celebration would be on Pier 62. He already had a vision for 2023’s celebration, stating, “next year, let’s make it bigger.”