ffflypaper to Present FREEFEST 2021

By David Salazar

ffflypaper will present “FREEFEST 2021,” a Juneteenth festival set to take place between June 14 – 18, 2021.

For the purposes of this article, our focus will be on opera-related showcases.

On June 15, the organization will present “Beethoven, Ru, & Rihanna, which, per the company’s official website, is a “A panel uplifting Black perspectives in opera, electro funk and beyond, and focusing on cultural empowerment and expression in the arts.”

The program will also feature several other virtual talks including “Wild,” “I am,” “Invasions of the Culture Snatchers,” and “We Build the Block.”

“Everyone should be celebrating Juneteenth and Black Liberation,” said Ras Dia, co-founder of ffflypaper and FREEFEST, in a press release “so we’re just doing it our way, by creating a space where opera, roller skating, R&B, health screenings, electrofunk, and voter advocacy align.” Of the festival’s expansive partnerships, he added, “We’re just proud to be building community in this moment.” Dia and co-founder Siobahn Sung have partnered with Brooklyn cultural and grassroots organizations such as We Build The Block, the African-American Roller Skate Museum, The Empire Marching Elite, Operation Crew Count, Reel Works, Heartbeat Opera, and National Sawdust, as well as Represent Collaborative (REP CO), a San Francisco-based storytelling collaborative.