ABC will present a unique and truly historic production when “Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories That Changed America” premieres at 9 p.m. on Thursday.
The two-hour program of music, dance and the spoken word was filmed on Sept. 23, 2016, when the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture opened its doors with an all-star tribute featuring Angela Bassett, Dave Chappelle, Chuck D., Doug E. Fresh, Savion Glover, Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Quincy Jones, Rashida Jones, Elijah Kelley, Janelle Monae, Jaka Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Octavia Spencer, Chris Tucker, Jesse Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, Patti Austin, Christina Aguilera, the Alvin Ailey dancers, Jon Batiste, Shirley Caesar, Chloe x Halle, Gary Clark, Jr., Common, Cynthia Erivo, Fantasia, Jamie Foxx, Robert Glasper, Dave Grohl with Trouble Funk, Herbie Hancock, Gladys Knight, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin, NeYo and Usher.
According to the network, world-renowned dignitaries, athletes and artists from around the globe will come together for the program at Washington’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Designed to explore and celebrate African-American contributions to the global landscape, the program will feature new film footage of iconic items from the museum’s collections — items ranging from a plane used to train the famed Tuskegee Airmen for World War II combat duty to a Bible owned by Nat Turner. The film is accompanied by music, dance and dramatic readings by a wide range of stage and screen actors.