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Stevie Wonder Honored at the White House Feb. 27-09
Gershwin Prize Awarded by President Obama to Stevie Wonder
President Obama awarded the Gershwin Prize tonight, Feb. 27, 2009, to Stevie Wonder. After being introduced by an elegant and poised Michelle Obama, gorgeous in a simple green dress, Stevie played the first song and was followed by seven wonderful contemporary artists whose YouTube video performances are presented below. (These videos are not their White House performances. I plucked them from the many that are available on YouTube. I was unable to find a performance by the great soprano Anita Johnson, so I had to make do with a photo.) Stevie Wonder wrapped up the evening with two more songs-- Signed, Sealed, Delivered and Superstition.
We've come a long way since the Daughters of the Amercian Revolution barred Marian Anderson in 1939 from singing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall in our nation's capital. She sang a historic concert before 75,000 at the Lincoln Memorial instead. In 1955 she became the first African-American to sing at the Metropolitan Opera. She sang at the March on Washington. It's a shame she didn't live long enough to sing at the White House tonight. On a personal note: One of my early lessons in race relations came from hearing that, following the D.A.R. incident, my mother resigned from the organization upon the urging of my father. The story was repeated to me and my brothers and sister as a lesson in what our parents stood for.
Stevie Wonder Wikibio
- Stevie Wonder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born blind in Saginaw, Michigan, Stevie Wonder has received 25 Grammy Awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement.