Remembering the tastes and sounds of Juneteenths past

Posted at 12:58 PM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 18:46:29-04

MILWAUKEE — If there was ever a place where you can not make a wrong choice, it's in the kitchen at Mr. Perkins Family Restaurant.

Cherry Perkins has kept the tradition running here for a decade.

That's how long it's been since her husband, the namesake Mr. Perkins, passed away.

Her commitment has not changed a bit.

"Everything is good every day that I do. Because I always do it with love," Cherry Perkins said.

For Milwaukee's Black community, Mr. Perkins is a touchstone. Just like the Juneteenth Day celebration.

When Cherry Perkins is there, walking the crowd on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, she loves to soak it all in.

"That's what I go for, to see the people. I'm a people watcher. But my favorite food out there is corn on the cob," she said.

There's a soundtrack to all that eating and people watching.

Year after year, it's provided by the crew at Jammin' 98.3.

Andrea Williams is the voice you know from the radio and the face of the main stage.

"I think I've hosted the opening ceremony for 16 years. So it weird not being out there this year," Williams said.

Over the years, she's had the chance to help lead the party while introducing local acts who went on to make it big.

"It's fun when you look at some of the names that have been on the Jammin 98.3 main stage. Some of them have gone on to do big things and they're from Milwaukee," she said.

Milwaukee's own Jacob Lattimore, Rodney Poe, J-Vocal, and Sincere all took the stage at Juneteenth.

They're now entertaining a national audience.

But it's not the big names Andrea will miss this year, it's the folks who come out to celebrate in the street.

"Just missing being out there with our listeners and the people of Milwaukee. Feeling the love and spreading the love," Williams said.

If you need to hear those sounds this Juneteenth, Jammin 98.3 will be spinning them all day on the radio.

And if you need the flavor, Cherry Perkins has you covered. She will be serving up a side of history with every plate.

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