On Thursday night, ABC finally aired the “Taking The Stage: African American Music And Stories That Changed America” special, which was originally tapped in the fall of 2016, surrounding the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC.
The audience was filled with stars of music, film, entertainment, industry and politics, including President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Many of R&B’s elite hit the stage to pay tribute to the groundbreaking singers and entertainers that came before them. Suited up to put on a show, Usher performed a commendable James Brown tribute, which included “Papa’s Gotta Brand New Bag,” “I Feel Good,” “Say It Loud I’m Black And I’m Proud,” and “Get On Up.”
Ne-Yo was appointed the very difficult task of paying tribute to Michael Jackson, which he’s done before, however this performance fell short in many people’s opinions on social media. His set included “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” and “Earth Song.”
On a higher note (literally), Fantasia floored the audience in the Kennedy Center with her dedication performance to Aretha Franklin, singing “Dr. Feel Good.” As always she stunned vocally, receiving a standing ovation from the packed house.
Chloe & Halle opened the gospel tribute, and made Beyoncé proud with their angelic voices. The young sisters were followed by gospel headliners Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin, and Shirley Caesar.
Check out the performances below.