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A Must See

Anika Noni Rose Sings Be Free By J. Cole + #MLKNow Performances

On Monday, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. at #MLKNow on his national holiday right in the heart of Harlem at Riverside Church. Blackout for Human Rights hosted MLK Now, described as “a special MLK Day event to celebrate and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and explore how his message and vision continue to resonate in today’s racial, social and political landscape.”

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Inspired by Dr. Kings famous 1967 speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence” which was performed at Harlem’s Riverside Church, MLK Now featured historic speeches by many civil rights leaders performed by some of today’s hottest actors and Broadway Black stars — including Actor and Civil Rights Icon Harry Belafonte, Actor and Comedian Chris Rock, Oscar-Winner Octavia Spencer, Tony Award Winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, Actors Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson, Tony Award Winner Anika Noni Rose, Andre HollandCondola Rashad and Adepero Oduye.

It was said by the host, Ryan Coogler that the original artist of “Be Free,” J. Cole was unable to perform his own song because it was too painful. So, when Ryan Coogler introduced the performance and said that Anika Noni Rose would be singing the song, we fell out. Watch the entire performance below.


We will include more performances from this event as they become available.

Anika Noni Rose – Be Free

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” read by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Shirley Chisholm’s Presenditial Campaign Announcement of 1972 read by Condola Rashad

India.Arie – I Am Light

We’ve uploaded a few of our favorite performances & speeches but there is so much more to see & witness. Watch the entire event or skim thru it below! Don’t forget the great speech by Harry Belafonte at the 2:55:00 mark.

Written By

Drew Shade is a theatre artist and enthusiast who fosters artistic diversity and excellence for the love of Black theatre artists. He is the Founder/Creative Director of Broadway Black, Off-Book Podcast & The Antonyo Awards. “Have a belief in yourself that is bigger than anyone’s disbelief.” – August Wilson


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