On Monday, January 16, at 10:30am, Brooklyn Academy of Music will host its 31st annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., New York’s largest event honoring Dr. King and his legacy.
“We gather to celebrate his message and its enduring value, and welcome those who have attended this resonant event for many years as well as those new to our community,” said BAM president Katy Clark.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will serve as this year’s master of ceremony, with a keynote address by Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi and music performances by The Campbell Brothers and The Institutional Radio Choir.
As the nation addresses issues raised during a polarizing election, Tometi’s message is resonant and timely: Starting with a social media call-to-action in 2013, Black Lives Matter became nationally known for its street demonstrations following the 2014 deaths of two African-American men: Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and Eric Garner in New York. Its network now includes 30 local chapters nationwide. The movement serves as a reminder that social justice is not a given, and the fight for equal treatment of all people should never rest.
Also on Monday, as a part of BAM’s celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., BAM and Greenlight Bookstore present the launch of Frederick Douglass in Brooklyn, a volume published by Brooklynbased Akashic Books with original source material that illustrates the complex relationship between Frederick Douglass and the pre-1989 city of Brooklyn. Douglass’ role as an abolitionist leader, spokesman for racial equality, and defender of women’s rights resonates clearly with Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of social activism and equality.
The day-of events include a free film screening of Ava DuVernay’s (“Selma”) acclaimed documentary movie, “13th” on January 16th, 1:00pm at BAM Rose Cinemas. In DuVernay’s important, thought-provoking documentary, “13th,” scholars, activists, and politicians analyze the criminalization of African-Americans and the US prison boom. Free tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Performer Carl Hancock Rux will read from Douglass’ writings, and editor Theodore Hamm will provide context and commentary for some of Douglass’ best known speeches, many of which were given at BAM. This reading, discussion, and Q&A will take place in the Wendy’s Subway Reading Room, located in the BAM Fisher Lower Lobby, located at 30 Lafayette Avenue. Attendees will be able to purchase signed copies of Frederick Douglass in Brooklyn, available to all attendees at a 15% discount.
Related weekend programs kicks off with the BAMcafé Live shows on January 13 and 14, at 9:00pm by Soul Science Lab, a Brooklyn-based music and multimedia duo that translates stories into soul-stirring sounds. Made up of Chen Lo and Asante’ Amin, Soul Science Lab’s mix of hip-hop/soul/jazz sounds brings spiritually positive and uplifting messages.
Beginning January 13-February 19, BAM presents “Picture the Dream,” a free a community art exhibition featuring works by students from the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Atlantic Terminal Community Center, located on the 2nd floor of 30 Lafayette Avenue. For the ninth year in a row, BAM partners with NYCHA to offer free art workshops to children living in Brooklyn public housing residences. This year, students from the Atlantic Terminal Community Center created original artwork inspired by Dr. King’s dream of freedom and equality.
The event is free. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-seated basis starting at 8:00 am in the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House lobby, located at 30 Lafayette Avenue. For further information, please call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100 or visit BAM.org.