The Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African American History and Culture was heralded last weekend with star-studded receptions, concerts and an A-lister dedication led by former President George W. Bush, who signed the groundbreaking papers; and standing President Barack Obama and their first ladies.
And what a glorious building it is. After walking through its stunning tiered bronzed exterior, you are urged to start at the bottom, three levels underground, for its details and artifacts of the slave trade.
Ramps connect the next two floors adorned with amazing pieces such as Harriet Tubman’s shawl, Frederick Douglass’ exquisite hand-carved walking stick, Nat Turner’s Bible, and the emotional corridor housing the coffin of young martyr Emmett Till.
Upper levels concentrate on the many contributions made in the arts, politics, religion, sports, fashion and so much more. Particularly striking are Chuck Berry’s red Cadillac, George Clinton’s mothership and outfits worn by Cab Calloway, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and so much more.
One section was devoted to Roy Ayers, who was currently enjoying a stand at the city’s famed Blues Alley. After a late set, the 76-year-old master of the electric vibes said he hadn’t visited the museum yet, but that we should expect a new DVD soon of his classic collaboration with the late African music giant Fela Kuti.
The Oprah Winfrey Theatre officially opened with stars and creators from the hit WGN series “Underground” in attendance after a screening of one of its best episodes. A special film made by Ava DuVernay is in rotation daily.
Tickets are said to be gone until January, but the museum has implemented daily giveaways of up to 1,000 passes to same-day visitors willing to get in line early. Just know that this is a huge undertaking that could easily take seven hours or two trips to go through thoroughly.
AUTHORIZED: Series creator Shonda Rhimes, one of the largest donors to the museum, sat for a chat before a packed ballroom at the National Book Fair, held at the D.C. Convention Center. She called her backing, which has produced a wing of Visual Art and the American Experience, “cultural patriotism.”
“To be a part of that legacy is not a small thing to me,” she said.
Of her many revelations, we found that “Italy stops on Mondays for ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and that the continent of Africa loves ‘Scandal.’”
It all drives her mission of making things happen for other people especially for women of color. “The guys aren’t doing it,” she said frankly.
Rhimes, who counts Toni Morrison and Stephen King among her literary inspirations, is satisfied writing television for the present.
“I don’t want my own networks,” she announced. “Oprah has that covered.”
FIRST OF THE MONTH: Oct. 1 is live with guitarist Gary Clark Jr. at The Greek; DJ sets by Talib Kweli and Viktor Duplaix at Sofitel; Diplo and Kesha headlining Mad Decent Block Party 2016 at the LA Center Studios; and Jazz at Drew University of Medicine and Science featuring Poncho Sanchez, Ndugu Chancler, Karen Briggs, Rickey Minor, Paul Jackson Jr. and The Dazz Band.
Amber Rose’s empowering Slut Walk 2016, hosted by Perez Hilton and Frenchie Davis, is in Pershing Square. If you’re venturing out of town, Musiq Soulchild is at Anaheim’s City National Grove, with Al B. Sure! at Carson’s Solvenue.
CLIPPETTES: “A Seat at the Table,” an album written and produced by Solange Knowles, was just dropped with guest turns from Lil Wayne, The Dream, Q-Tip, Kelly Rowland, BJ The Chicago Kid and more …
Pharoah Sanders leads the Angel City Jazz Festival on Oct. 2 at the Ford Theatre; while Joshua Redman/Brad Mehldau Duo are at The Broad Stage; and Res is in concert at The Hotel Café …
“12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen has landed Viola Davis as the lead for his next film “Widows,” described as a revenge heist film …
The Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour featuring Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Lil Kim, Mase, Faith Evans, 112, Total and French Montana lands at The Forum on Oct. 4 …
Jazz vocalist Gregory Porter croons on Oct. 6 at the Orpheum Theatre.
ROCK HARD: “Marvel’s Luke Cage” starring Mike Colter as the impervious comics hero-for-hire is making an inaugural run now on Netflix. Alfre Woodard, Sonia Braga, Theo Rossi and Mahershala Ali as the villainous Cottonmouth round out the cast.
In addition, The Live Score, a special event of the series music curated by Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, takes place at the Ace Hotel on Oct. 6. Miquel Atwood-Ferguson conducts a 40-piece orchestra for the evening hosted by Russell Peters and Wayne Brady with an opening DJ set by mega producer No I.D.
TC ON TV: Sept. 30 – “America Divided” (Epix): This five-part docu-series debuts with segments featuring Common back in his hometown Chicago exploring disparities in the justice system; Rosario Dawson investigating the Flint, Michigan, water crisis; and executive producer Norman Lear on gentrification in New York City.
Oct. 1 – “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” (OWN): Naughty By Nature; “SNL” (NBC): The Weeknd will premiere a new song and hairdo as musical guest for the 42nd season opener hosted by Margot Robbie.
Oct. 2 – “2016 Triumph Awards” (TV1): Spike Lee and Jermaine Dupri are among honorees for the ceremony hosted by Tichina Arnold with performances by Fantasia, Nick Cannon and Eric Benet. “Westworld” (HBO): Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris and Thandie Newton star in this buzzworthy series adaptation of the 1973 sci-fi western robotics movie. “Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of the City” (Comedy): Forbes’ highest-paid comedian ($87.5 mil) adds this new travel discovery series to his credits.
Oct. 4 – “16 for ‘16” (PBS): “The Originals” looks at the presidential campaign of Rev. Jesse Jackson. \“2016 BET Hip Hop Awards” (BET): DJ Khaled hosts and T.I., Gucci Mane, Travis Scott and others pay tribute to honoree Snoop Dogg.
Oct. 5 – “Frequency” (CW): Mekhi Phifer co-stars in this sci-fi detective drama based on the feature film.
Oct. 6 – “iHeartRadio Music Festival” (CW): The mega line-up includes Drake, U2, Usher, Sting and Pitbull.
TASTY QUIP: “You’ve had Jamie Foxx a couple of times. Jay Z and Beyoncé, they’ve been there but you haven’t had Flavor Flav. So Mr. President, from me to you, it would be an honor if you would consider to have Flavor Flav, while you’re in office, come to the White House and visit you. All I want to do is take a picture, get an autograph and I want to keep the pen.” – Public Enemy hype man FLAVOR FLAV at the Freedom Sounds Community Celebration
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @tastyclips.