Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

At the White House: Black History Month Celebrations Continue

President Obama and First Lady Michelle continue Black History Month celebrations at the White House.   Earlier this month the first lady hosted a dance workshop with iconic dancers Judith Jamison and Debbie Allen, who at the age of 60 can still kick quite a high heel. Celebrating African American women in dance the East Room was transformed into a stage where 50 young school girls performed an array of dance routines later that evening.

On Monday the Black History recognitions continued when the cast, writers and executive producers of Underground descended upon the White House. Underground explores the extraordinary feats of heroism and genius of America's captive Africans as they fought daily for respect, human dignity, and above all - freedom - from American slave holders.

The cast of Underground poses for a group picture before attending the screening and discussion of the television series shown on the WGN network beginning March, 9.  Photo/CD Brown.
The television series stars Aldis Hodge, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Alano Miller, Chris Meloni, Amirah Vann and Jessica de Gouw.  It is executive produced by music icon John Legend along with Anthony Hemingway and Akiva Goldsman and written and created by Misha Green.

Underground airs March 9 on the WGN America network.  For more information please visit

White House honors Ray Charles

On Wednesday, the White House honored music legend Ray Charles, summing up the final In Performance series of the Obama Administration.  The event included music heavy weights Yolanda AdamsLeon BridgesAndra DayAnthony HamiltonBrittany HowardDemi LovatoSam MooreJussie Smollett (brother of Jurnee Smollett-Bell), The Band PerryUsher and music director Rickey Minor.

From the White House:

“Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles: In Performance at the White House” will be the sixteenth such program during President Barack Obama’s administration. From February 2009 to the most recent broadcast in January 2016, these “In Performance at the White House” events have honored the musical genius of Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, Hal David and Carole King; celebrated Hispanic musical heritage during Hispanic Heritage Month; marked Black History Month with events featuring the music of Motown, Memphis Soul, the Blues, and from the Civil Rights Movement; explored the rich roots of Gospel and Country music; spotlighted Broadway and the unique spirit of the American musical; and paid tribute to the cultural resonance of art and literature in unique American musical forms.

“Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles: In Performance at the White House” will be broadcast Friday, February 26, 2016 at 9:00 PM ET on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings).  The program will also be simulcast on cable channel TV One.

YouTube has it all over
Even though the tribute will air this Friday, you can see snippets leaked on You Tube.  From the YT sight simply search 'Ray Charles tribute' to find gems like the one below.

See also: President Obama's tribute to Ray Charles |  Demi Lavoto's performance

Inventions of African Americans

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