Premiere on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS App, On Friday Oct. 13 and Friday, Oct. 20
PBS continues to showcase the enduring influence of artistic changemakers with its second season of NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER, a performing arts series and multi-year collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Launching in October with two new installments – “Robert Glasper’s Black Radio” on Friday, Oct. 13 at 9-10 p.m. ET and“Embracing Duality: Modern Indigenous Cultures” onFriday, Oct. 20 at 9-10 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), PBS.org and the PBS app – the one-hour specials will spotlight contemporary and diverse artists and their contributions across art forms, genres and backgrounds.
The first episode of the second season of NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER, “Robert Glasper’s Black Radio” (Oct. 13), captures the ever-curious, virtuosic, and playful mind of five-time Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer, and producer Robert Glasper and showcases how Black Radiocrossed genres and gave emerging artists a chance to infuse their true personalities into the music, creating the album’s unmistakable sound. With the birth of Black Radio, Glaspergave rise to a new attitude in the music industry: one where artists were allowed and encouraged to take risks, be unapologetically in the moment, and challenge their expectations of what popular music could be.
In celebration of Black Radio’s 10th Anniversary, the one-hour special documents the Kennedy Center’s homecoming for some of the album’s original collaborators. Glasper returns to the Concert Hall for a historic performance, with special guests Lalah Hathaway, Meshell Ndegeocello, Bilal, Affion Crockett, Kyle Abraham and Amir Sulaiman, and featuring Derrick Hodge leading the Black Radio Orchestra. Through the lens of music and storytelling, friends and collaborators of Glasper, including Don Cheadle, Don Was and Esperanza Spalding share how his exploration of new musical territory blended to create a musical collage from all reaches of contemporary black music and beyond.
Glasper and the creative legends behind Black Radio share with viewers their trials and tribulations as young musicians, chronicle the creation of Black Radio, discuss Glasper’sunique style of collaboration, and laugh, and cry recalling memories in the decade since the album’s conception. In a portrait of one visionary’s boundless and eternal pursuit for innovation, this story gives an intimate look into the mind behind the album that reshaped how black music is uplifted and celebrated.
On Oct. 20, the NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER bridges traditions, connects cultures, and celebrates the human spirit, with the premiere of “Embracing Duality: Modern Indigenous Cultures.” In partnership with electronic music pioneers The Halluci Nation, R&B artist Martha Redbone and performance artist Ty Defoe, the Kennedy Center explores the impact and evolution of indigenous performing arts cultures.
In taking influence from a diversity of Nations, cultures, languages, philosophies, spiritual traditions, peoples, and practices rooted in indigenous cultures, contemporary artists across genres have infused indigenous elements, influences and rhythms into Indie Pop, Roots, R&B, Electronic, and beyond.
The special pays homage to the past with Grammy Award-winner and two-spirit artist Defoe’s celebration of life’s interconnectedness with his performance of hoop dancing, one of the oldest native dances. Redbone then welcomes viewers to explore the unique blend of folk, blues, and gospel as she pays tribute to her African American and indigenous roots. The Halluci Nation, formerly known as A Tribe Called Red, pays homage to the energy and momentum of Ottawa’s Electric Pow Wow gatherings while pointing to where the future is headed.The group also performs a dynamic live rendition of “Stadium Pow Wow,” their breakout song featured in the trailer for the Martin Scorsese movie “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
Featuring conversations and personal anecdotes, these artists delve into the subtle and complex representation of the contemporary Indigenous experience. Through the powerful and uplifting performances across the Kennedy Center campus, NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER tells the story and offers a platform to those artists who continue to celebrate and carry forward their traditions in unique and distinct ways.
NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER, a new series of primetime performance specials, shines a spotlight on the Kennedy Center’s contemporary culture program, bringing the best of the nation’s stage to viewers across the country. Captured to match the unique style of the artists, each episode weaves together performances filmed live at the Kennedy Center with intimate off-stage moments and first-person commentary.