Geoff Edgers of the Washington Post has written an electric review of the opening of our National Museum of African American History & Culture- This is a defining moment in our nation as the struggle for parity within race relations and legal authorities is at all time fever pitch. The Black Lives Matter movement highlights much needed reform in how to police in a nation where just being black is considered a threat. Michael Jackson fans know all to well that his messages of Unity, Brotherhood and respect for the children of all cultures was of paramount importance and integral to his art. We are proud that Michael Jackson’s costume is part of this National Museum. Please click link at bottom to read full Washington Post article.
James Brown, Marian Anderson, the Duke and Lena Horne. They weren’t there physically Friday night at the Kennedy Center, but their presence was undeniable during a star-studded concert marking this weekend’s opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“I should say good evening, everyone,” said Oprah Winfrey, who donated $21 million for the museum, after President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama took their seats in the balcony of the Eisenhower Theater. “But what I’d really like to say is hallelujah.”
If the concert — recorded for future broadcast on ABC — set the tone for this weekend’s events, it did so by honoring a stunning artistic legacy without glossing over the painful road that’s been central to the African American experience.
“You don’t want to be so happy, you don’t want to be so sad but you do want to celebrate,” said Jacqueline Washington, the daughter of a pioneering federal judge, Aubrey E. Robinson Jr.
Washington sat in the last row next to her Howard University classmate Debbie Allen, the choreographer and actress. But they weren’t complaining about the view.
“Every seat is a front-row seat,” Allen said. “That’s what this is tonight. Being in the room. When we were at the inauguration of Barack Obama, it was that you were there.”
“Taking The Stage: Changing America” wasn’t just a concert. Musicians were often introduced along with photos of the museum artifacts related to their performances, including: a pair of slave shackles; Louis Armstrong’s horn; and the silk and black velvet dress Marian Anderson wore for her Easter concert in 1939, when she performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after having been shut out of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Actress Angela Bassett spoke of how segregation hurt artists such as Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Horne.
“They were born too early to be the bigger stars they might have been but it doesn’t diminish what they did and the legacy they left,” she said. “Singing, it wasn’t the same after them. Nor were the audiences that heard them.”
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