Celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. at Music and the Movement

Headlining artists Native Son (Rodrick Cliché and Benny Starr). Photo Credit: Everett Zuraw.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Columbia Museum of Art announces MLK Celebration: Music and the Movement, a free and unique community day to be held on Sunday, January 19, the day before MLK Day. Set to the soundtrack of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, the event honors Black leaders, the power of storytelling, and the central role music plays in Black culture and activism.

Native Son, featuring Benny Starr and Rodrick Cliché, headlines in their debut performance with a contemporary musical experience that explores the themes of Black Power mashed up with classic movement songs. Starr’s latest release A Water Album, featuring Cliché as musical director, was recently ranked No. 1 on Free Times’ “Best of South Carolina Music 2019” list.

“It’s been a privilege of mine to collaborate with Rodrick Cliché, and an honor to call him a brother. Together, as Native Son, we will explore and create, tapping into our shared musical influences of the Black church, freedom struggle, hip-hop, and beyond,” says Starr. “We look forward to being a part of the Music and the Movement celebration, as we hope to continue honoring those influences and opening up our creative world to the public.”

In addition to performances and free admission, the day-long celebration includes artmaking, DJ sets, film screenings, gallery tours, food vendors, and more.


  • The NiA Company
    • 11:00 a.m., Noon, 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m.
    • The NiA Company returns to the CMA, this time using the voices of Darion McCloud and Samuel McWhite to bring to life the songs and words of the streets, the community, and the people. Smart fun for the entire family.
  • Native Son featuring Benny Starr and Rodrick Cliché
    • 3:00 p.m.
    • In their debut performance, lowcountry-based Native Son brings to Columbia a never-before-seen hip-hop set combining music from Starr’s catalog and classic movement songs.


  • Learn a new way of expressing your story. Limited capacity. First come, first seated. No registration required.
  • 10:30 – 11:00 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. – Noon; 1:00 – 1:30 p.m.; 2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Featuring SC artists:
    • Documentary photography with Michael Dantzler
    • Songwriting with Tiffany J
    • Spoken word with Tammaka Staley


  • Collection galleries open and featuring a self-guided tour of work by Black artists
  • The Cross Hatch, an all-ages interactive gallery where you are the artist
  • Film screening hosted by the Friends of African American Art & Culture
    • Charlie’s Place (2018, 30 minutes) playing on loop beginning at 10:30 a.m.
  • Artmaking stations for all ages
  • Printmaking with Spexx Art
    • Catch a demo by SC artist Alana Harris, then try your hand at printmaking.
  • Black Is Beautiful portrait booth
    • Inspired by the summer 2020 exhibition Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, sit for a photo with a professional photographer.
  • Black Is Beautiful story booth
    • Sit down at the mic and share your story.
  • DJ sets by Preach Jacobs
  • Think Black, Buy Black pop-up shop
    • Buy wares from local artisans.

Food Available for Purchase

  • 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • A Peace of Soul Vegan Kitchen
  • Fishin’ Fellas

Free admission courtesy of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. Program support provided by the Friends of African American Art & Culture.
For more information, visit columbiamuseum.org.

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