Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To sustain the tradition while venues around the world remain closed, BAM will launch events virtually, connecting communities across the nation.

This year’s programs and events include the 35th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., featuring Alicia Garza, PJ Morton, Tarriona “Tank” Ball, and more. The program will be complemented by a digital film screening of William Greaves’s newly-restored documentary Nationtime and the week-long public art installation Let Freedom Ring, a provocative exploration of the notion of freedom and the legacy of Dr. King. BAM Education will host a virtual watch party for teens­–Drop the Mic: Dream, Speak, Act.

Visual art: Let Freedom Ring

Curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah

Art by Derrick Adams, Alvin Armstrong, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Lizania Cruz, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Hank Willis Thomas, & Jasmine Wahi

January 15—21, 2021

The BAM sign screen (corner of Flatbush Ave & Lafayette Ave)

Harnessing the scale of BAM’s outdoor digital signpost as a vehicle for public art, Let Freedom Ring is a provocative exploration of the notion of freedom and Dr. King’s legacy. The public art installation features the work of Brooklyn-based creatives who are deeply engaged in an ongoing dialogue about the role of artists, art, social justice, equity, and inclusion. Spearheaded by BAM Curator-at-Large Larry Ossei-Mensah, the project connects the Brooklyn community with larger cultural dialogues around freedom. Timed to coincide with the nation’s annual commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the historic 2021 Presidential and Vice-Presidential inauguration, the acclaimed artists invite the viewer to engage critically with the work and reflect on what freedom truly means in 2021. The project is an extension of the Freedom 2020 Awakening Campaign, Visit for more information.

The 35th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Alicia Garza, PJ Morton, Tarriona “Tank” Ball, Sing Harlem!, Timothy DuWhite, Ashley August, & more

Presented by BAM and The Office of the Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, in association with BRIC TV,

Monday, January 18, 2021 at 11am EST

Virtual – RSVPs are strongly encouraged, at

The Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., brings together artists, activists, civic leaders, and the public for a communal commemoration and reflection on the life and legacy of Dr. King, Jr. Audience members around the world are invited to join BAM for the virtual edition of New York City’s largest public celebration of Dr. King’s legacy featuring a keynote speech by Alicia Garza, author of The Purpose of Power, principal at Black Futures Lab, and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, performances by Grammy Award-winning gospel and R&B artist and Maroon 5 keyboardist PJ Morton, Tank and the Bangas lead vocalist Tarriona “Tank” Ball, Vy Higgensen’s award-winning choir Sing Harlem!, Brooklyn-based poet and 2020-2021 BAM Artist Resident Timothy DuWhite, spoken word artist Ashley August, and presentations by leading artists, civic leaders, and changemakers. The 2021 event draws inspiration from Dr. King’s words, his life, and the actions of those around the nation who continue the fight for equality and justice.

The 35th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will stream on, Monday, January 18, 2021 at 11am EST. Following the stream, the event will be available on BAM’s YouTube and Vimeo through February 28, 2021. For the first time since its inception, New York City’s largest public tribute to Dr. King will be pre-recorded to air locally on BRIC TV–the Emmy Award-winning cable TV and digital network. This event includes Closed Captioning. Visit for more information.

Film: Nationtime (1972), directed by William Greaves

Special introduction by Rukia Lumumba

Monday, January 18, 2021

Virtual – RSVPs are mandatory, at

Tickets are limited

Best known for his avant-garde meta-documentary Symbiopsychotaxiplasm, William Greaves (1926—2014) was also the director of over 100 documentary films, the majority focused on African American history, politics, and culture. Nationtime is a report on the National Black Political Convention held in Gary, Indiana, in 1972, a historic event that gathered black voices from across the political spectrum, among them Jesse Jackson, Dick Gregory, Coretta Scott King, Richard Hatcher, Amiri Baraka, Charles Diggs, and H. Carl McCall. Narrated by Sidney Poitier, the film was considered too militant for television broadcast at the time and has since circulated only in an edited 60-minute version. This new 4K restoration from IndieCollect, with funding from Jane Fonda and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, returns the film to its original length and visual quality. Courtesy of Kino Lorber. (80min)

Rukia Lumumba, Co-Founder and Executive Director of People’s Advocacy Institute will give a special introduction, reflecting on the legacy of the 1972 National Black Political Convention and her work as the co-producer of the 2020 Black National Convention. View the Nationtime trailer here. Visit for more information.

Education: Drop the Mic: Dream, Speak, Act

Friday, January 22, 2021 at 4pm EST

Virtual – RSVPs are mandatory, at

A special screening, for teens, of the 35th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This virtual watch party is followed by an open space discussion facilitated by BAM staff. As we conclude a year where young people were at the forefront of global calls for justice and equality, youth reflections on the fight for civil rights—both historically and today—are a critical part of determining the road ahead. Visit for more information.