02/09/10

White House Honors Black History Month with Music

The Black History Month event will feature Freedom Singers, Yolanda Adams and Natalie Cole

The White House Music Series begins this week with “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement.” The event, which will be hosted by the President and First Lady, is part of an ongoing series of White House events commemorating Black History Month.

The concert will be held Wednesday [Feb. 10] in the East Room of the White House and will be streamed live at 5:15 p.m. on White House Live. The event is being televised the following night at 8 p.m. on public broadcasting stations nationwide. Additionally, NPR will produce a one-hour concert special direct from the event for broadcast on NPR Member Stations throughout the month of February, and available on NPR Music.

The following musicians are scheduled to perform: Yolanda Adams, Joan Baez, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Smokey Robinson, Seal, the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Howard University Choir, and The Freedom Singers. The event will feature songs from the Civil Rights Movement in conjunction with famed Civil Rights speeches. Guest speakers include Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, Queen Latifah and Joanne Woodward. Other featured members will be Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Rutha Harris, Charles Neblett and Toshi Reagon.

In tandem with the White House Music Series Mrs. Obama will host an educational initiative aimed at teaching students the continuing relevance of music from the Civil Rights Movement and its original impact in the 1960s. On Wednesday the First Lady will host “Music that Inspired the Movement,” a workshop for 120 high school students from across the country facilitated by Robert Santelli, the executive director of The Grammy Museum, and Smokey Robinson. John Legend, John Mellencamp, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon will perform.

Students nationwide are encouraged to submit questions for the performers and facilitators. Questions may be submitted prior to the workshop at White House Live and a selection will be chosen to be asked during the workshop. The live stream code for the event will also be available on this webpage.

First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off the White House Music Series last year with a Jazz Studio, and since then has hosted celebrations of Country, Latin and Classical music. Many of these events included evening performances and similar daytime educational workshops designed to educate and inspire talented young people to use their gifts to develop a future for themselves in the arts community.

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