2018 MLK Celebration Features Music of the Movement

Thursday, January 18, 2018

This year’s Martin Luther King celebration, “Freedom! In All Keys,” will feature music that serves as the soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement.

Mike Brown & F.O.C.U.S., a vibrant contemporary gospel group based in North Charleston, S.C., will be the featured performers for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Monday, Jan. 22.

Student performances are scheduled throughout the day, culminating with the Mike Brown & F.O.C.U.S concert at 7 p.m. in Kenan Auditorium. Free tickets are available at the Kenan Auditorium Box Office. The event is hosted by the UNCW Upperman African American Center.

“The music of the movement is as important as the movement itself. It is the music of the movement that makes it possible for others to empathize with the political dissonance of the time,” said Upperman Director Sean Palmer. “To understand King, one would need to understand his love for jazz, blues and gospel, and how they are intertwined in the music of the church.”

F.O.C.U.S. (Followers of Christ Upholding Standards) has ministered with some of gospel music’s greatest of the last generation, including national recording artist Tasha Cobbs. The group has performed around the world, including Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Croatia.

“We recognize that we are nuancing our King Day Celebration, which has tended toward Civil Rights leadership, black celebrities and notable pastors; however, we believe that we are in a unique place to pay homage to the ways in which arts specifically influence activism, culture and intergenerational discourse,” Palmer said. “‘Freedom! In All Keys’ will help us to create a much more balanced understanding of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy within the context of the Civil Rights Movement.”

For a complete list of the day’s performances, visit the 2018 Martin Luther King Celebration website.

-- Venita Jenkins