Contrary to what it may feel and look like right now, we are in fact in a new year. Though our immediate environments, circumstances, and news cycles do a good job at convincing us otherwise, I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking we could all use some sort of reprieve from the already chaotic noise of 2021. (If I’m honest, I’m still trying to wrap my brain around everything that’s transpired. Insurrection? In this year?) Luckily for you, we here at The Root have gone ahead and compiled a nice little list of upcoming events from today through next Thursday to keep you occupied. Take a look and see if any tickle your fancy and remember to keep ya head up! We can and will get through this.
The New York City Center has released their latest episode of Encores! Inside the Revival which centers around the Broadway musical, The Tap Dance Kid. Listeners can hear from Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon, book adaptor Lydia Diamond, original cast member Dulé Hill, and choreographer Jared Grimes as they engage in creative conversation about the innovative process behind the future Encores! revival of the 1983 Tony-nominated musical The Tap Dance Kid. The mini-docuseries is available now to watch.
In honor of its five-year anniversary, The Broad is releasing a new video series dedicated to the musical influences of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The series will be divided into three segments Jazz, Punk and No Wave, and Hip-Hop—and will include commentary from both creatives and scholars as they reflect on Basquiat, also a musician as well as an acclaimed visual artist, and his impact and influence on style. Quincy Jones and jazz musician Terrace Martin will contribute to the Jazz and Bebop portion, Afro-Punk co-founder James Spooner will host the No Wave portion, and USC Professor Todd Boyd will host the Bebop to Hip Hop via Basquiat portion to round things out. Quincy Jones Productions has also been tapped to help produce the series. The first segment with Terrace Martin is live now on YouTube.
The International Documentary Association will virtually hold their 36th annual IDA Documentary Awards ceremony on Saturday, January 16th beginning at 8pm ET. Actor Willie Garson is the host for the evening with Ruby Ibarra set to perform as the night’s musical guest. Prior to the awards IDA will release six digital conversations, now through the 15th, with 2020 Honorary Award recipients Sam Pollard, Garrett Bradley, David Bradley, Firelight Media’s Stanley Nelson and Loira Limbal, Regina K. Scully, and Rappler’s Maria Ressa. To interact with the red carpet photo booth, go here. To view the ceremony, be sure to visit their website.
SummerStage Anywhere is kicking off their 2021 season with a handful of shows beginning Friday, January 15. The City Parks Foundation will premiere a special presentation of Marching On: Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in association with Winter Jazzfest and Voices of a People’s History of the United States. The program will feature various virtual performances from artists such as alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin; poet and organizer Mahogany Browne; vocalist and educator C. Anthony Bryant; actress and poet Linda Labeija; NAACP and OBIE-Award winning actor Ty Jones; R&B/soul singer Deva Mahal, R&B singer-songwriter Tarriona “Tank” Ball and harpist Brandee Younger. The performance will be narrated by curator and multidisciplinary artist Niama Safia Sandy. Viewers can enjoy the show by visiting SummerStageAnywhere.org or by streaming on all SummerStage social platforms.
Film at Lincoln Center will be holding a Sam Pollard Retrospective, a celebration of Pollard’s body of work, which will include the release of his latest, the documentary MLK/FBI (a New York Film Festival 58 selection). Pollard, a veteran and iconic producer and director, made his mark in the world of cinema for his nuanced portrayals of the Black American experience. To view the virtual tribute before it ends on the 22, be sure to head here.
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago is unveiling The Dreamscape, a virtual event that “gathers and juxtaposes distinct artworks to evoke new connections between them.”(And the best part about it is—it’s free!) Audiences will have the chance to view various artistic expressions such as live-streamed music, video art, meditative performances, and intimate conversations with artists, so that each viewer can curate their own experience. Featured artists include Lise Haller Baggesen, Eduardo F. Rosario, Selina Trepp, SANTIAGO X, Brendan Fernandes, Mariano Chavez/Teeth Agency, Diane Christiansen, Jeanne Dunning, Joanna Furnans, Damon Locks, Derek McPhatter, Cae Monāe, Darling “Shear” Squire, Derrick Woods-Morrow and more. If you’re picking up what they’re putting down, be sure to RSVP for access and pre-show information.
Join the Negro Southern League Museum as they celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Negro Leagues. The Birmingham, Ala.-based museum will hold a virtual event on YouTube Live at 7 p.m. EST to honor players who broke barriers and records in the world of baseball. The celebration will also include appearances by comedian Roy Wood Jr., Mayor Randall Woodfin, and several former players from the Birmingham Black Barons and Raleigh Tigers. Be sure to sign up here if you’re planning to attend.
MLK Jr. Day
The National Museum of African-American Music will hold a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony in celebration of their official opening later this month. NMAAM president and CEO H. Beecher Hicks III along with several other guests will commemorate this momentous occasion live on NMAAM’s Facebook and YouTube page, starting at 1p.m. ET.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) will hold their annual tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year’s programs and events include special appearances from #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Alicia Garza, PJ Morton, Tarriona “Tank” Ball and more. There will also be a digital film screening of William Greaves’s newly-restored documentary Nationtime, a film that follows the historic National Black Political Convention held in Gary, Ind., in 1972. The weeklong public art installation Let Freedom Ring, “a provocative exploration of the notion of freedom and the legacy of Dr. King,” will also be highlighted and features the work of Black and Brown Brooklyn-based artists. BAM Education will additionally host a virtual watch party for teens, Drop the Mic: Dream, Speak, Act followed by an open discussion. The festivities will begin at 11a.m. ET, click here to RSVP.
DoSomething.org and Tony award-nominee Joshua Henry are teaming up to celebrate the MLK holiday. Henry will debut his cover of the O’Jays hit “Stand Up,” with a portion of the proceeds going towards DoSomething’s Strength Through Service program. Strength Through Service offers a curated group of various volunteer and advocacy campaigns pushing different causes for young people across the country, while also giving them the chance to earn verified volunteer credit hours. Those who wish to join Henry and DoSomething can visit their website to sign up.
Willie Jones and the National Museum of African American Music are partnering up to launch the #IHaveADream Initiative. Jones will be debuting his new single “American Dream” and the accompanying music video. The NMAAM and Jones are challenging folks to share their hopes for change in America by posting a videos on social media, answering the question: “what is your dream for change in America?” You can participate in the challenge starting on MLK Day through Black History Month. Donations made through the #IHaveAnAmericanDream campaign will benefit the National Museum of African American Music.
National Day of Racial Healing
To celebrate the fifth annual National Day of Racial Healing, The Living Legacy Project, in tandem with Coming to the Table are putting on two free events, hosted by the CTTT local affiliate groups in Little Rock, AR and Richmond, Virginia. At 7pm ET, attendees will be treated to a special musical event from singer/songwriter Greg Greenway and LLP board member and musician Reggie Harris. The Little Rock affiliate group, Arkansas Peace and Justice Memorial Movement will also host a screening of Imaginary Walls, a film about healing racism, with a discussion following immediately after. Those who wish to participate must register separately for each event by visiting here and here.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation will also host an online event to commemorate the National Day of Racial Healing. The 100-minute program will feature conversations from today’s prominent thought leaders, artists, and advocates such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, John Legend, Padma Lakshmi, Yara Shaidi, and Storm Reid. Aloe Blacc, Connie Lim, Flor de Toloache, the Detroit Youth Choir, have all been tapped as musical guests with Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman performing an original poem. To RSVP, make sure to sign up here.
The Atlantic Theater Company will host the annual African Caribbean MixFest, a series of free readings co-produced by playwrights Guadalís Del Carmen and Kwame Kwei-Armah. It will feature readings of full length plays, shorts, and one acts from Del Carmen, Kwei-Armah, France-Luce Benson, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Whitney White, Julissa Contreras, Dane Figueroa Edidi, Patrice Johnson Chevannes and Jeff Augustin. The virtual play festival is free with a suggested donation and will also feature various artists including but not limited to: Betsy Aidem, Segun Akande, David Anzuelo, Travis Artz, Amara Brady, China Brickey, Christopher Cassarino, Ricardo Chavira, Patrice Johnson Chevannes, Cindy De La Cruz, Dane Figueroa Edidi, Safiya Fredericks, Chris Herbie Holland, Dan Hopman, Marin Ireland and more. Click here to RSVP.