*A sweater owned by Nat King Cole, the bass guitar played by A Taste of Honey’s Janice Marie Johnson on their 10 million-selling “Boogie Oogie Oogie,” and a pair of custom, diamond-studded thigh-high boots from Miami rapper Trina are among the more than 1600 artifacts on display in The National Museum of African American Music, which had its official opening on MLK Day in Nashville.
Monday’s socially-distant ribbon cutting with elected leaders, Museum board members, and community leaders marked the end of a project nearly two decades in the making. Only a limited number of spectators were allowed inside for the event, though a Facebook live stream of the program drew more than 1,000 viewers at a given time.
“It’s a museum that celebrates African American excellence and culture in the heart of downtown Nashville, and for some that seems odd,” said Henry Beecher Hicks III, president and CEO of the NMAAM.
The museum is located at the corner of Broadway and the recently renamed Rep. John Lewis Way, (Fifth Avenue). The large, newly constructed building serves as a gateway to Nashville’s Lower Broad honky-tonk strip and is steps away from the historic Ryman Auditorium.
“What this museum brings is a constant reminder of resilience and knowing that we can get through hard things,” said Metro Council Member Freddie O’Connell, who represents downtown as part of District 19. “Black music has always reflected the landscape of here and now. It has had the ability to transform trying moments and provide light in the darkness.”
The public opening is on January 30, 2021.
Take a look inside in Monday’s features from “CBS This Morning” and Nashville’s NewsChannel 5 below: