Entertainer Brian Henry (also known as B-Hen) has spun for all the greats from Beyoncé and Cardi B to Pharrell and even Barack and Michelle Obama. In addition to high profile gigs, he also founded the B-Hen Block Party, traveling from coast to coast to give select cities a taste of the live action, and a chance to step outside, dance, and enjoy music. 

Image: courtesy of Felisha Carassco

This month, he partnered with Diageo brands for the "Joy of June" tour: a series of local events, programming and experiences across the country that celebrates the vibrancy of Black joy, identity, and self-expression all summer long. The tour was created by Diageo, who's products include Smirnoff, Crown Royal, and DeLeon Tequila, to toast to the creative voices powering change across local communities. Speaking on the tour B-Hen says, “Those attending can expect a celebration of Black joy and Black Excellence. Our community is doing so many amazing, beautiful and positive things — and we're here to celebrate all of it. Our DJs play music from across the Diaspora thats gets you dancing all night long.”

As an expert in ‘turning up’, B-Hen created a custom cookout playlist for Ebony readers, and a guide to bringing your Juneteenth celebration to life. 

DJ B-Hen Block Party. Image: courtesy of Felisha Carassco.

Keep It Simple

Hosting a successful black party is all about making people feel welcome and keeping it low-key explains B-Hen. “It’s actually the elements that we remove from the event, which makes it so lively. We are the antithesis of the typical nightlife experience…there’s no sections, no guest list, bottle service, and NO VIP. This encourages us to be present in our own bodies and to the beauty in others. Love and freedom reverberates from the sounds of the DJ; creating connection through music. Without a doubt, this is the epitome and essence of The B-Hen Block Party.”

Bring the vibes

Music and food are undoubtedly the heart of any celebration, especially Juneteenth. B-Hen says a great playlist celebrates culture, evokes nostalgia, and makes people feel something. “Every great playlist pays Homage to Harmony. Harmony that allows each song to energetically and seamlessly flow into the next, and homage that pays tribute to Black musicians who’ve curated the soundtrack of our lives.”

B-Hen’s Custom Playlist for Ebony

Lakeside: Fantastic Voyage

Tshego, King Monda, Mfr Souls: No Ties (Amapiano Remix) 

Beyoncé, Shatta, Wale & Major Lazer: Already

Duckwrth ft Shaun Ross: Power

Ja Rule ft Lil Mo & Vita: Put it On Me 

Kendrick Lamar: I Love Myself 

Erykah Badu: Fall in Love

The Fresh Prince & Jazzy Jeff: Summer Time 

The Stylistics: People Make The World Go Round 

Anita Baker: Same Ole Love 

Lakeside: Fantastic Voyage