ABC Sets 2-Hour Special, ‘Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories That Changed America’ for Jan 12

President Barack Obama walks into the Grand Foyer with Lonnie Bunch, Director of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, and first lady Michelle Obama, to speak at a reception for the museum opening at the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Barack Obama walks into the Grand Foyer with Lonnie Bunch, Director of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, and first lady Michelle Obama, to speak at a reception for the museum opening at the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture opened its doors with an all-star tribute that will air on ABC, under the title “Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories That Changed America” – a two-hour program of music, dance and the spoken word – on Thursday, January 12 from 9-11pm EST.

ABC previously announced entertainers who would participate in the opening of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture, including Angela Bassett, Dave Chappelle, Chuck D., Doug E. Fresh, Savion Glover, Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Quincy Jones, Rashida Jones, Elijah Kelley, Janelle Monae, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Octavia Spencer, Chris Tucker, Jesse Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, Patti Austin, Christina Aguilera, Alvin Ailey dancers, Angela Bassett, 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.

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. The executive producers were Don Mischer and Quincy Jones, along with Don Mischer Productions’ Charlie Haykel and Juliane Hare.

The production was filmed on September 23 and will air on ABC stations nationwide on Thursday, January 12.


  1. Program was outstanding, absolutely wonderful!!. I would like to get a copy of this program to show to my senior citizens. Is this possible?. If so, how much is the tape?

    • I watched it today, via the ABC app.,, cable provider sign in required. The message received said it would disappear in two days.

  2. most sensational, enlightening combination of music and truth all rolled into one to create the history of the Black heritage contributions to music and all other fields in the world. One of the MOST touching shows I have ever seen and to have the President of OUR USA there singing and dancing and knowing the words to ALL the songs and being a part of this was magical and emotional to watch. I cried many times. He is most likely the ONLY president in the world that has ever been so intuitive open minded in attending such functions. He should go down in history an the GREATEST President of all times not just for what he accomplished with all the odds and congress against him but for proving the the USA that BLACK man can run the most powerful country in the world with dignity, class and the highest magnitude of guaranteeing that the American people come first no mater who you are or what color you are. This show makes people think. I truly hope that it will be released to Utube so I may watch it over and over again. Every one one in this world should watch it. It was one in a million. Since I am a baby boomer I knew every song and musician and the history and it made me so proud that I have always appreciated the talent and immense amount of influence the African Americans have had in the music world. It was really there world first who allowed and taught others the way to be so talented and successful. Loved it more than I can express. 🙂 MLS

      • I could not agree with you more, I went to work and asked all around , Did you see the special last night? and Yes I love, Loved, Loved, Loved seeing our President and his beautiful Wife there, and I also cried and cried as well

    • Loved the show as well!! Would love to purchase a DVD copy if available please!! Please let me know where or if I could purchase the DVD… I thank you…

  3. Loving the show! Viewing with UCSD students studying English. Great history lesson. Gratitude.

  4. What MARCIE SILVERSTEIN said! And I’ll add… when I saw this advertised, I set my reminder and recorder. That was the best move I’ve made all year.

  5. I need to have a DVD, copy, or whatever of that show “Taking the stage”. Excellent entertainmemt. Made my heart sing. Please, please, please.

  6. I would love to have a copy of this program in my home library. Will the museum make the program available for purchase? I wasn’t able to view however I heard the program was outstanding.

  7. Loved, loved, LOVED the show!! Please air it again and let me know when and if a DVD is released!! Very tasteful and entertaining, not a dull moment.

  8. I was in awe… classy! Please put it out for purchase! I cried with a girlfriend in Missouri. You would think that everyone was our relative. We are such a beautiful people, without permission.

  9. Good Morning ABC How do I obtain a copy of the awesome 2hour Special?
    It aired last night I did miss at least half of the program and finally was informed of the show at least one hour and half left for viewing.. I missed the beginning of importance telling the History of Lena Horne and other celebrity stars…Thanks

  10. Missed it and gotta see it according to the rest of the world!!!
    When is it going to reair and how can I buy a copy on CD?

  11. This show beat out every award show there is. What a wonderful job done by every artist. A standing “O” for the producer of this show. I can’t say enough about it. If you missed it shame on you! I just wish I knew it was going to be on, I would have set my DVR. I pray it comes on again or a DVD comes out, I would buy it. It is worth seeing over and over again. Magnificent!!!!!

  12. This show beats any and all of the award shows. A standing “O” goes out to Mr.Don Mischer and Mr. Quincy Jones. This show was long over due and I am so glad you did it. I wish I would have known it was coming on, I would have set my DVR. I would love to have the DVD of this. It is worth watching over and over again. If you missed it, shame on you. It was magnificent. I can’t say enough about it.

  13. One of the most wonderful shows I have seen in a very long time. So inspirational and educational, all people need to see it!

  14. I also thought that it was the best, and I enjoyed every bit of it from the start to finish, and would love to watch it and will watch it again also. Greattttt!!!!! yes it was I give it 5 Stars, wonderful and I just love our President and his beautiful wife. none other like them down to Earth

  15. I too and America! I am a darker brother, they send me to the kitchen to eat when company comes; but I laugh and eat well and grow strong! tomorrow I ‘ll sit at the table when company comes and no one will dare then, because I too! am America

  16. and that is No one will dare say to me Eat in the kitchen then, because! I too and America

  17. Who arranged “God Bless the Child”? not only was it a great performance, but the arrangement seamlessly enhanced the excellent vocalist. Was it Cynthia Erivo??

  18. Please let me know if Taking the Stage will be on again or if i can purchase a copy of it

  19. This program was absolutely amazing! I loved it! It was classy, fun, informative, earth-shattering, and so moving. Will this program be produced on a DVD? Please say “yes”, as I would love to show this to my grandchildren some day!

  20. Missed it!!! So sad. Will it be aired again? Is there a way to see it On Demand? If all else fails, where can I purchase a CD? Many thanks!

  21. Taking the Stage special brought tears to my eyes. I would like to buy a Dvd of Taking the Stage to show my grandchildren. Thanks ABC for airing this for everyone to see.

  22. I was very disappointed when I found out that I missed the special. Wil it air again? Or can I purchase a DVD?

  23. I am a white woman in a long-term beautiful relationship with an amazing black man. I loved the show and want to share it with him. How can I? Will it be on Direct tv? can I purchase a DVD?

  24. Please air again or tell me where I can purchase a copy for everyone in my family. Once I started watching I couldn’t break away. It would be a shame not to make this available to the public and donate the proceeds. I wept, I laughed, and then as the night went on I reminded myself of who I was….A proud black African 69 year old women who had seem my share of some of the worst in life but still made it thru. Because as a people we come together with the help of our white, Jewish, Muslim, etc brothers and sisters.

  25. My whole family would like to see this program again. Please air it again or make it available for purchase.

  26. “Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories That Changed America” was EXCELLENT! As mentioned, in one of the earlier comments, a DVD should be made available for purchase (with proceeds going to the new African-American Museum), so that families, students, and ALL Americans, can have a copy of OUR history. Thank you, Mr. Don Mischner and Mr. Quincy Jones for this FABULOUS production.

  27. How can I purchase a copy of “Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories that Changed America”.

  28. Trying to find out the name of the song Gary Clark Jr. song on the show and where can I get it

  29. Where may i purchase a dvd copy of Taking The Stage? How much would it cost for a dvd copy of Taking The Stage?

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