Saturday, February 25, 2012

Red, White, Blues, and Progress

On February 21, 2012, the White House, along with PBS, hosted a blues concert in the East Room as part of their ongoing “In Performance at the White House” concert series—a series that actually began in 1978 during the Carter presidency. “Red, White and Blues” included performances from some of the biggest blues musicians around.

The concert itself was amazing, especially the rendition of “Sweet Home Chicago” performed by all the invited performers with a little help from POTUS himself. But beyond that, what hit me was watching the legendary 86 year old B.B. King, a native of Mississippi and son of the segregated South, performing for President Obama. Throughout his early career, KIng played many a club where he was not even allowed to dine because of the color of his skin. And yet, in 2012, here he was playing his guitar for the President of the United States, also a man of color. Though I know this country has a long, long, way to go regarding race relations and basic civility, seeing B.B. King perform for the President in a building once built by slaves, I realized that we have indeed made progress.

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