(Photo Credit: Pete Monsanto)
On Monday (Jan 16), four days before the inauguration of Donald Trump, and on Martin Luther King Day, Blackout for Human Rights and the Campaign for Black Male Achievement in Harlem produced the second annual MLK Now event at Riverside Church where Dr. King once spoke.
The event was full of celebrity power and passion as the mission was to use the words and legacy of Martin Luther King JR in the past and use them to bring true “freedom” in the future.
Celebrities such as LaLa Anthony, Omari Hardwick, Michelle Williams passionately recited speeches from some of the biggest personalities of the civil rights movement, and leaders of today. They brought the words of Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Chimanda Ngozi Adichie, Maya Angelou and more to life as the room filled of all ages listened intently and applauded with passion with the words that moved them.
You would have never known comedian and actor Baratunde was suffering from the flu as he set the tone of the night with some jokes throughout the night before introducing each act.
One of the biggest highlights of the night came was before an enlightening panel moderated by Jamilah Lemieux. FM Supreme passed off her passion with a powerful spoken word poem in which the entire audience stood up and cheered. Another highlight was towards the end as actor Andre Holland made us feel as if Malcolm X stood in the room to recite his famous speech “The Ballot or the Bullet.”
Between the speeches and performances a video by the name of Black America Again showed on the screens which used powerful imagry, a freestyle featuring Common, all shown in black and white to help bring feeling with the message.
In a day in time where many are living in fear, and not sure what the future holds it was a great event in which kids got to hear the words of some of the most influential leaders of the civil rights movement, and to push Martin Luther King’s issues into 2017 and into the future.
You can watch highlights of the entire event below.
Below is a livestream of the full event.