June 19, 2024

IE COMMUNITY NEWS

El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

Rialto’s Juneteenth Celebration Features Exclusive ‘Sweetwater’ Screening with Lead Actor on June 21

3 min read

Everett Osborne as Nathaniel Clifton in the film Sweetwater, set to screen at Never Stop Grinding Impact’s Juneteenth Celebration at sundown on June 21, 2024.

This Juneteenth, the City of Rialto and IEHP, in collaboration with Never Stop Grinding Impact (NSG), is set to host an extraordinary celebration of culture, highlighting the untold stories of African American history through the exclusive screening of “Sweetwater.” The event is being Friday, June 21, 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM at Margaret Todd Park, located at 201 N. Willow Ave.

The centerpiece of the celebration is the award-winning film “Sweetwater,” a compelling biographical movie about Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton, the first African American to sign an NBA contract. Directed by Martin Guigui and starring Everett Osborne, Cary Elwes, and Jeremy Piven, the film captures the pivotal moment in 1950 when Clifton broke barriers and forever changed the landscape of professional basketball. 

Sweetwater, released in April 2023, was previously available in select theaters and streaming platforms but has been temporarily pulled from streaming, as a big announcement lies in the weeks to come. The Juneteenth celebration in Rialto will be the only place to watch “Sweetwater” before the forthcoming announcement. The screening will begin at sundown.

NSG Impact CEO Darious Harris shared his personal connection to the film, reflecting on the revelation that there was a time when African Americans were not allowed to play in the NBA. “I was never aware that blacks at one point could not play in the NBA. Growing up in California, I never realized I was a minority until adulthood. This sentiment resonates with many minority youth and young adults here,” Harris said. Harris, a former boxer, first connected with Osborne on the set of a Honda commercial in 2017 and has been inspired by Osborne’s journey from sports to the silver screen.

Everett Osborne, who portrays Sweetwater in the film, emphasized the significance of Juneteenth and the film’s representation of liberation and breaking barriers. “Juneteenth, known as African American Freedom Day, and ‘Sweetwater’ symbolize the future of all possibilities and the change in history marked by the first black NBA player being signed. When one person breaks the chain, it brings hope and freedom,” Osborne stated. He also highlighted the importance of understanding history to appreciate the progress made and the work still ahead.

A family at last year’s Juneteenth event enjoying the vendors.

The event promises a vibrant atmosphere with food vendors, music, youth activities, games, giveaways, and community resources. The LA Rams cheerleaders will make a special appearance, adding to the celebratory spirit. Osborne will also conduct a free basketball clinic, providing an opportunity for youth to engage and learn from a professional athlete. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance to receive free giveaway items for adults and children, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.

This exclusive screening of “Sweetwater” aligns with the celebration’s theme of empowerment and education. “It’s more than just a movie; it’s a story that needs to be told and heard, especially by our young generation,” Harris added. “We have come a long way, but there is still work left to be done.”

The Juneteenth Celebration of Culture is free and open to the public, but attendees are encouraged to register in advance here.

In addition to the Juneteenth event, NSG Impact is currently running a Summer Boxing Program at Frisbee Middle School, operating from June 6th to June 20th. The program focuses on fitness through non-contact boxing, social-emotional learning, and bully awareness. Each student receives custom NSG gloves and a T-shirt. The program, co-founded by Harris and COO Tameka Grayson in 2021, is available year-round to schools interested in participating.

For more information about the Summer Boxing Program or the Juneteenth Celebration of Culture, visit neverstopgrindingimpact.org or contact NSG Impact at info@neverstopgrindingimpact.org.

Hundreds of community members from Rialto and neighboring cities with their lawn chairs, blankets, and snacks enjoying the 2023 Juneteenth film screening.

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