From Poetry to Music Battles, Here Are Some Events to Check Out This Weekend

Poet Aja Monet, left, and singer Roberta Flack are both holding virtual events this weekend.
Poet Aja Monet, left, and singer Roberta Flack are both holding virtual events this weekend.
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz (Getty Images), Brad Barket (Getty Images)

With all that’s going on in the world, it can be challenging to remember to sit down, take the load off and just breathe. Some people like to unwind with a good book or television show, but whether you like it or not, social media is chock full of entertainment at your fingertips. Especially during times such as this, we need a little escape, and virtual media is providing that and more.


If you don’t have any plans to keep yourself occupied this weekend, The Root is here with options. Not only do these virtual and (safe, CDC-regulated) in-person events cover the entertainment aspect we need, many of them are philanthropic, as well.

Check out a few events happening this weekend if you’re looking for a little something to do.

May 15

Virtual Events

  • Homemade: An Online Poetry Reading for the People is held on the 1st and 15th of each month by poet and musician Aja Monet. This week’s reading will be held from 7-9 p.m. ET, and will feature guest poets such as Shadia Mansour, Tariq Luthun and Frank Waln. This week’s reading is dedicated to those living under Palestinian regime.
  • The Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) is hosting a one night only fundraiser to benefit their COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. “We All Play Our Part: A Benefit for MPTF” will broadcast live on MPTF’s YouTube page at 9 p.m. ET. Yvette Nicole Brown and Tom Bergeron will host the event, and stars such as Taye Diggs, Wanda Sykes, Jay Ellis, George Clooney, Jodie Foster and more will appear. The fund aims to provide support for the entertainment industry’s behind-the-scenes film and TV workers.

May 16


  • Janelle Monáe and the Wondaland Arts Society, in partnership with Project Isaiah, Councilman Andre Dickens, and Hot 107.9 will present the #WONDALUNCH Drive-Thru. Free, contactless boxed lunches will be distributed to families in Atlanta and the surrounding areas in response to COVID-19. The event will take place from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET.


  • 78 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will join forces to celebrate the Class of 2020 during Chase’s HBCU Virtual Commencement, “Show Me Your Walk HBCU Edition.” The event will take place at 2 p.m. via Chase’s YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn channels, as well as HBCU Connect’s Facebook page and Essence Studios. It will be hosted by Kevin Hart, and will feature appearances from Debbie Allen, Steve Harvey, Chris Paul, Wyclef Jean and more. Additionally, Barack Obama will share a special message for the over 25,000 students graduating this year.


  • Roberta Flack, in partnership with Rhino Records, will be airing a live event benefiting the non-profit Feed the Children via the label’s YouTube channel. The event, which begins at 3 p.m. ET, will include selections from Flack’s catalogue, vintage photos and videos, as well as footage from Feed the Children. The stream will also coincide with the release of Flack’s three-part musical box set, which includes the 50th anniversary of First Take, new music, and remastered hits. Santita Jackson, who toured with Flack, will host the event.
  • Ludacris and Nelly will go head-to-head on Instagram Live for their highly-anticipated Verzuz battle at 7 p.m. ET.

Pronounced "Jay-nuh."