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Make Me Wanna Holler: Exploring D.C.’s Music Legacy, an event featuring an open house and after party celebrating Marvin Gaye and the legacy of Washington, D.C., music, is a joint effort by three Smithsonian units—the National Postal Museum, the Anacostia Community Museum, the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage—and the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives taking place Saturday, April 20.
The inspiration for the collaboration includes the U.S. Postal Service’s issuance of the Marvin Gaye Forever stamp, the Anacostia Community Museum’s “Right to the City” exhibition, the 2019 Folklife Festival theme “The Social Power of Music” and the Smithsonian Year of Music initiative.
Gaye, a Washington native, was one of the most influential music performers of his generation. He helped shape the buoyant sound of the Motown record label in the 1960s and broaden the scope of R&B music in the 1970s. The Marvin Gaye Forever stamp is the ninth in the Postal Service’s Music Icons stamp series. Other honorees in the series are Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, Lydia Mendoza, Elvis Presley and Sarah Vaughan.
A day of activities, discussion and performances that explore Washington’s rich music history—its legacies and contemporary resonances—will be presented at the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives (10 a.m.–3 p.m.) and the National Postal Museum (3–5:30 p.m.).
Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives Activities
10 a.m.–3 p.m.
1201 17th St. N.W., Washington, D.C.
Metered street parking available on adjacent streets; closest Metro stations: Farragut North, McPherson Square
10 a.m.—Visitors can explore displays of historical materials highlighting the role of Washington’s public schools in cultivating the city’s rich culture and arts, including music and poetry. Displays will include items from the schools where Gaye got his start: Randall Junior High and Cardozo High School.
11 a.m.—Children (recommended for ages 0–5 years old) will be able to enjoy music-themed books, activities, songs and self-guided gallery exploration. They can make their own Marvin Gaye coloring page; art activities are ongoing throughout the day with Story Times at 11 and 11:30 a.m.
Noon–12:30 p.m.—Visitors can celebrate National Poetry Month with “Poetry and Percussion,” featuring the Woodrow Wilson High School Poetry Club and The Sanctuaries. These artists join music and poetry together in a vibe session exploring themes specific to Washington and expressive of experiences shared by communities in urban neighborhoods around the country.
12:30–2 p.m.—Visitors can learn and share their thoughts on the District’s music. Featuring some of the city’s most celebrated artists across multiple genres, this panel is moderated by Head-Roc (Mayor of DC Hip-Hop/Chocolate City Rocks) and explores the motivations and passions that inspire and compel ground breaking and accomplished Washington-based recording artists to address, through their music, many of the hot-button social issues affecting citizens in the Nation’s Capital and surrounding region. Discussants include Elise Bryant, DC Labor Chorus (E.D., Labor Heritage Foundation); Anthony Fields, DC Hip-Hop Legend/Pioneer bka Dimensions (The Package, A.R.K., Infinite Loop, CEO @ BADHUMAN ARTHAUS); Ras Lidj, DC Funk (Go-Go) Legend/Pioneer, creator of Regg’Go); and Katy Otto, DC Punk Icon (Trophy Wife).
2–3 p.m.—Visitors can lift their spirits and move their feet to this musical tribute to Gaye performed by local musicians HDavid.
U.S. Postal Service Stamp Dedication
National Postal Museum, 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., Washington, D.C.
Metered street parking available on adjacent streets; closest Metro station: Union Station (Red Line)
3–3:30 p.m.—The U.S. Postal Service will salute the Gaye, the “Prince of Soul,” with a dedication of the Forever stamp honoring the legendary singer beginning at 3 p.m. at the National Postal Museum with remarks by U.S. Postal Service and the museum representatives.
National Postal Museum Public Program
National Postal Museum, 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., Washington
Metered street parking available on adjacent streets; closet Metro station: Union Station (Red Line)
3:30–5:30 p.m.—Following the stamp dedication, the museum will host a free dance party presenting tunes by Gaye, featuring Washington’s own DJ RBI. The Smooth & EZ Hand Dance Institute will also be available to take visitors on a journey across the past and future of DC Hand Dancing. Museum visitors are encouraged to bring their own tote bag or T-shirt to be screen printed with inspirational text, or print the text on paper, with artists from Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center.
Make Me Wanna Holler: Exploring D.C.’s Music Legacy is produced in conjunction with the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives Monthly Open House Series. The program is funded in part by the D.C. Commission of the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
About the National Postal Museum
The National Postal Museum is devoted to presenting the colorful and engaging history of the nation’s mail service and showcasing one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of stamps and philatelic material in the world. It is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., Washington, D.C., across from Union Station. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). For more information about the Smithsonian, call (202) 633-1000 or visit the museum website at www.postalmuseum.si.edu.
About the Anacostia Community Museum
Established in 1967, the Anacostia Community Museum examines the impact of contemporary social issues on urban communities. While closed for renovations though mid-October 2019, the museum has in place its “Offsite and In the City” initiative, which includes satellite exhibits of the exhibition “A Right to the City” at the DC Public Library and complementary public programs at venues throughout the District. For general information, call (202) 633-4820; for program information, call (202) 633-4844 or visit http://anacostia.si.edu. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About the 2019 Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Social Power of Music
In 2019, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival takes as it animating theme “the social power of music” and is part of the Smithsonian Year of Music, an Institution-wide initiative celebrating the Smithsonian’s vast musical collections and resources through 365 days of music-related programming and events.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, inaugurated in 1967, honors contemporary living cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them. Produced annually by the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in partnership with the National Park Service, the Festival has featured participants from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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