This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a horrific event that occurred at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965 as law enforcement officials violently confronted 600 civil rights demonstrators who marched for voting rights. Led by John Lewis (now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives), the event marked the first in a series of attempted marches from Selma, AL (later led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) to the state's capitol in Montgomery. Although this event has been commemorated annually for the past several years, the 50th anniversary theme sounds a clarion call for us to "Remember, Recommit and Restore." To that end, several events have been planned for this historic tribute, taking place March 5 - 9.
At the center of the planned activities will be a speech by President Barack Obama on Saturday, which will focus on civil rights issues of the past...and present. Music will also play an integral part, with several concerts planned throughout the city. Perhaps the largest concert will take place on Sunday with an all-star lineup at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. In partnership with the Selma-to-Montgomery 50th Commemoration Foundation, Centric/BET Networks will present a live stream of this historic celebration.
Hosted by A.J. Calloway, the concert will feature performances by Aloe Blacc, Anthony Hamilton, Arrested Development, Bebe Winans, Bell Biv DeVoe, D-Nice, Donnie McClurkin, Doug E. Fresh, Eddie Levert, Eric Benét, Flavor Flav, Keith Sweat, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin, MC Lyte, Rick Ross, Tank, Tamar Braxton, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tyrese, Vanilla Ice and Virtue. In addition to this incredible musical showing, Harry Belafonte and Peter Yarrow (two original Selma marchers), Bill Withers, Cicely Tyson, Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Tom Joyner are also slated to make appearances.
Be sure to tune in to both BET.com or CentricTV.com on Sunday, March 8th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET. And if you haven't already seen Ava DuVernay's gripping cinematization, Selma -- featuring John Legend and Common's Oscar-winning song, "Glory" -- there's no time like the present.
While we love a good concert, we urge you to look past the celebrity draw and remember the true purpose of the Anniversary Jubilee. Visit organizations like The Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Inc. and The Dream Marches On to see a full schedule of the Anniversary events, as well as learn more about the historic marches and find ways to participate in the ongoing struggle for justice and equality.