Celebrating Black History Month in Peru, Jamaica, and Ethiopia

LIVE! JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER
 

SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK SLATED FOR PERFORMANCE TOURS HOSTED BY US EMBASSY IN PERU AND JAMAICA TO CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH

February 19, 2015, New York, NY…SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK, the venerable and Grammy-nominated a cappella ensemble who’ve built a legacy for merging an inimitable and distinct harmonic vocal blend with a veracious commitment to activism, social justice, equality and freedom have been invited by the US Embassy in Lima, Peru and Kingston, Jamaica for a series of concert performances and cultural community outreach workshops to support and celebrate Black History Month programs spearheaded by each Embassy.

“We’re truly honored and excited to have been invited by the US Embassies in Ethiopia, Peru and Jamaica to perform and celebrate Black History Month,” says Carol Maillard, one of Sweet Honey’s founding members. “It is truly an honor to serve as cultural ambassadors and artists during this special time and we are deeply grateful for the opportunity to share our music and messages around the globe,” she added.

The US Embassy in Lima, Peru has invited SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK to celebrate Black History Month and draw attention to Rule of Law/Administration of Justice related activities. Program dates are from February 20-24 (2/22-2/24 in Lima 2/21 in Ayacucho). Their activities in Peru will target at risk youth, Afro Peruvian populations, artists, activists, alumni, the police community, incarcerated youth and general audiences. The visit to Ayacucho will be the first public event for the U.S. Mission for a number of years and signals the return of U.S. interest in the area. The group’s mini-tour will be capped by a performance at the prestigious Gran Teatro Nacional in Lima followed by a special reception hosted by the US Ambassador to Peru, Brian A. Nichols.

Immediately following their stay in Peru, Sweet Honey will travel to Kingston, Jamaica to participate in several Black History Month events hosted by the US Embassy in Kingston., February 26-27. The Embassy has been working  tirelessly on the theme “Equal Citizenship for all Jamaicans”. This theme also supports the “Respect Jamaica” (private sector initiative) and “Respect” campaign of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Persons with disabilities and those who practice alternative lifestyles (i.e. based on sexual orientation/gender identification) are often on the margins of society and not treated equally in several ways. The Embassy’s campaign this month emphasizes that human rights are not special to any group (majority, minority or marginal) and that it is simply everyone’s right to be valued and protected in the society in which they live.

Sweet Honey  will be honored as special guests of the US Ambassador to Jamaica, Luis G. Moreno and will perform at a private reception at his residence on Feb. 26th. Earlier in the day, Sweet Honey will host two culturally inspired workshops for youth and adults at “Blues on the Green,” Emancipation Park in New Kingston. On February 27th, they will headline the Embassy’s annual Black History month concert for an estimated 7000 people at “Blues on the Green,” Emancipation Park.

Earlier this month Sweet Honey was invited by U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  to contribute to several Black History Month cultural and educational events highlighting the contributions of African Americans, and in particular African American women, have made in the fields of music, art, politics and business.  Their visit to Ethiopia (Feb 2 – 5)  was kicked off with special reception and performance at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa.

They also collaborated and performed a concert with the Ethiopian female a cappella  musical group Yegna at the Mulualem Hall in Bahir Dar on February 3rd, hosted a master class at the Mekaneyesus Jazz School in Addis Ababa on February 4th and performed on February 4th at Mama’s Kitchen Restaurant and Night Club in Bole. 

Last year, Sweet Honey made their premiere US Embassy tour (August 27- 31) as part of the longstanding Arts Envoy program to Belize. The Arts Envoy Program is a longstanding outreach program and initiative by the US State Department that’s hosted by the US Embassy in Belize. Sweet Honey performed concerts in Belize City, Dangriga and Placentia and conducted artist exchange workshops with a couple of noted Belizean artists.

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