Blog Entry Narrative Change

WATCH: Livestream of "MLK Now," Hosted by CBMA and Blackout for Human Rights

More than 2,000 people came out to Harlem on Monday, January 18th for Blackout for Human Rights and the Campaign for Black Male Achievement’s “MLK Now.” The special event celebrated and honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and explored how his message and vision continue to resonate in today's racial, social and political landscape.

Taking place at Riverside Church – where Dr. King performed his famous 1967 speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence” -- the event featured historic speeches delivered by some of today’s leading actors/influencers. Performances included:

  • Michael B. Jordan -- Fred Hampton's "Power Where There's People"
  • Andre Holland -- Malcolm X's "Police Brutality and Mainstream Media"
  • Anika Noni Rose -- Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I A Woman"
  • Harry Belafonte -- Patrice Lumumba's "Proclamation of Independence"
  • Octavia Spencer -- MLK's "Been to the Mountaintop"
  • Tessa Thompson -- Angela Davis' "Victory Speech"
  • Chris Rock -- James Baldwin's "My Dungeon Shook"
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda -- MLK's "Beyond Vietnam"
  • Condola Rashad -- Shirley Chisolm's "Presidential Campaign Announcement"
  • Adepero Oduye -- Ida B. Wells' "This Awful Slaughter"

More than 408,000 people watched the live-stream of the event, which featured musical and spoken word performances by Rose, Grammy-Winning Artist India Arie, Acclaimed Poet and Performer Saul Williams, Grammy-Nominated Artist Bilal, and surprise guest, “EMPIRE” star Jussie Smollett. The program also included an “Artist’s Conversation” between Filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who is a founding member of Blackout for Human Rights and served as executive producer and co-host of the event, and Grammy-Nominated Hip Hop Artist J. Cole. 

After the speech performances, “MLK Now” – which by that point had become a number one trending topic on Twitter -- capped off with a panel discussion addressing the most pressing human rights issues of today, led by moderator and MSNBC National Reporter Trymaine Lee, Urban Cusp Founder and Publisher Rahiel Tesfamariam, Arab American Association of New York Executive Director Linda Sarsour, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice Executive Director Dante Barry, Filmmaker/Activist and Co-Director Gina Belafonte, and Activist Leon Ford, Jr.

To view photos from the event, visit here.

Please be sure to include proper photo credits when including with coverage.


Blackout is a network of artists, entertainers, advocates, spiritual leaders, educators and everyday citizens who commit their collective resources towards addressing human rights violations in the U.S. Blackout is comprised of both high visibility and everyday citizens. Members include Coogler, Michael B. Jordan, Charles King, Nate Parker, Donald “Childish Gambino” Glover, Ava DuVernay, Jesse Williams, John Burris, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosa Clemente, Shaka King, Scott Budnick, David Oyelowo, Pastor Michael McBride and others.


The Campaign for Black Male Achievement is a national membership network that seeks to ensure the growth, sustainability, and impact of leaders and organizations committed to improving the life outcomes of Black men and boys. CBMA is a growing network that currently includes more than 4,700 leaders representing nearly 2,600 organizations and programs across the country.


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