Set your DVRs, the ABC Television Network celebrates the unveiling of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture with a two-hour program of music, dance and the spoken word called “Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories That Changed America,” on Thursday, January 12 (9:00-11:00 p.m. EST).
World-renowned dignitaries, athletes, and artists from around the globe came together for the program at Washington’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Designed to explore and celebrate African American contributions to the global landscape, the program will feature new film footage of iconic items from the museum’s collections – items ranging from a plane used to train the famed Tuskegee airmen for World War II combat duty to a bible owned by Nat Turner. The film is accompanied by music, dance and dramatic readings by a wide range of stage and screen actors.
Scrolling through the list of entertainers and presenters on the show reads like an encyclopedia of important performers of the last 50 years. A sample of the entertainers include: Gladys Knight, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera, Alvin Ailey Dancers, Angela Bassett, Jon Batiste, Shirley Caesar, Common, Fantasia, Jamie Foxx, Robert Glasper, Dave Grohl with Trouble Funk, Herbie Hancock, NeYo and Usher.
Presenters include Angela Bassett, Dave Chappelle, Chuck D., Doug E. Fresh, Savion Glover, Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Quincy Jones, Rashida Jones, Janelle Monae, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Octavia Spencer, Chris Tucker, Oprah Winfrey and Stevie Wonder to name just a few.
The show was recorded on September 23rd of 2016. With President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in the audience it must have been quite a night.
(Photos courtesy Disney – ABC/ Ida Mae Astute)