A&E to Run All-Star Concert Focusing on Race in America

Alicia Keys and John Legend perform at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Jan. 27, 2014. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
Alicia Keys and John Legend perform at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Jan. 27, 2014. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Sting, Pharrell Williams, John Legend, the Zac Brown Band, Pink, Ed Sheeran, Sia and Miguel are among a raft of rock, pop, R&B, country and hip-hop musicians who will take part in a three-hour special slated to air Friday across A&E’s cable channels and iHeartMedia radio stations to confront issues of racial strife troubling multiple communities across the U.S. in recent years.

Scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., “Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America” and “Shining a Light: Conversations on Race in America” are taking a two-pronged approach to addressing racial conflicts, combining the concert with location pieces and town hall meetings recorded in the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., in Ferguson, Mo., and in Baltimore.

Other musicians on tap for the show include Smokey Robinson, Aloe Blacc, Eric Church, Jamie Foxx, Tori Kelly, Jill Scott, Nick Jonas, Tom Morello and Big Sean.

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In addition, actors and other celebrities taking part in the conversation sessions include LL Cool J, Morgan Freeman, Nicki Minaj, George Lopez, Mario Lopez, Kurt Warner, Nick Young and Marshall Faulk.

“We are a giant media company, and we thought, ‘What can we do?’” A&E executive vice president and general manager Robert Sharenow told The Times.

Initially the idea was simply to hold an all-star concert that would put racial issues in the spotlight. But musicians who signed on to participate suggested taking a broader approach by also initiating talks in various communities, with survivors, family members and friends of victims of violence engaging in conversation with law enforcement and other officials.

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Source: The Los Angeles Times | Randy Lewis

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