June 20, 2024
Los Angeles city council members were graced with a dance performance and words from Allen as they kicked off Juneteenth.
Celebrated dancer and choreographer Debbie Allen received a prestigious certificate of recognition from the Los Angeles City Council on June 18, honoring her illustrious career and contributions to the city.
This accolade, presented by Councilmember Heather Hutt, marked the commencement of LA’s Juneteenth festivities. “It just means a lot because it is essential to be in a community where you feel not just loved but supported and respected,” Allen said, according to ABC7.
We kicked off #Juneteenth yesterday w/an incredible honor and celebration @ City Hall.

Thank you Councilwoman Hutt and CD10 for recognizing @therealdebbieallen, #NormNixon (Co-Founder) & DADA for the work we do to provide arts access, inspire & transform the lives of students. pic.twitter.com/PnYlcKwhbw
The ceremony featured a performance by students from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA), prompting Hutt to remark, “When you think about Juneteenth, that is what happened: we danced. That is a part of something coming from within, and [Allen] is the right person to really dedicate this day to.”
DADA members later highlighted Juneteenth’s significance during a post-council meeting feast. Dance instructor Sarah Anindo Marshall deemed Allen’s recognition during this period “amazing,” while academy Director Karen McDonald emphasized the importance of reminding the community about leaders like Allen’s “incredible work.”
The internationally recognized director dedicated her honor from the council to young aspiring dancers, sharing her struggle as an 8-year-old Black girl seeking acceptance into a dance academy. Her experience influenced DADA’s mission, which the academy states on its website aims to enrich and transform lives through dance, mainly focusing on underprivileged Black and Latino communities.
Throughout her illustrious three-decade career, Allen has amassed an impressive array of accolades, including six Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, and five NAACP Image Awards. Her influence extends beyond performance, with notable directing and producing credits spanning television classics from “FAME” to “Grey’s Anatomy.” Allen’s impact on the arts has been formally recognized with four honorary doctorates, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and an appointment as Cultural Ambassador of Dance by President George W. Bush. As a Kennedy Center Honoree and long-time artist in residence, she continues to create original works that inspire and push boundaries.

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