& VIEWING PARTY
For this occasion worthy of fanfare, we raised our Mimosa glasses in a toast to the new museum’s ribbon-cutting.
BREAKFAST & LIVE STREAM OF
NMAAHC OPENING CEREMONY
Guests attended their choice of show times for an entertaining afternoon, suitable for the entire family. View photos below!
FROM AFRICA to the AMERICAS
We celebrated the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in the most dynamic of ways– through music and dance, covering genres influenced by Africans, and then African Americans through the years. We were moving in our seats and tapping our feet, as vocalists covered Blues, Doo-Wop and more, and dancers popped, grooved, kicked to evolving rhythms.
View video clips of the performance on our Instagram page!
Photos from The Musical Odyssey
SERENGETI GALLERY is pleased to have been selected as a must-visit destination for the NMAAHC’s Opening Weekend!
Serengeti Gallery, located at 7919 Central Avenue, in Capitol Heights, Maryland.
The National Museum of African-American History and Culture, located in Northwest, Washington, DC.
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ABOUT THE ARTISTS
He has performed with Baltimore Dance Project and Howard County Ballet in Maryland. Adjakwah has also been a recipient of the Summer Dance Study Award at UMBC and gained an internship position at the renowned Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival last summer where he took classes taught by distinguished choreographers. As time progresses Adjakwah aims to gain dance opportunities both in performance and teaching while using his gift to inspire and change lives. [end]
Originally from Ghana, Heinz Adjakwah began his dance career taking technique classes in his senior year of high school continuing upon graduation; he enrolled at Morgan State University, where he majored in Nursing. He became a company member of the Morgan State Modern Dance Ensemble under the directorialship of Dr. Iantha Tucker and was awarded the Dorothy .P. Stanley Scholarship the spring of his freshman year. This gave him the opportunity to participate in a summer intensive with the Atlanta Dance Connection Dance Company.
After being at Morgan State University’s Modern Dance Ensemble, he transferred to UMBC and graduated in December 2015 with a dual degree in Dance and Health Administration and Public Policy. He recently performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C, which featured him in a duet that received the Outstanding Student Choreography Award from the American College Dance Association Conference and Dance Magazine.
Chelsea Nicole Green
Next to dancing, Chelsea adores frolicking outdoors barefoot. She was also seen on the ABC-TV show Wife Swap!
- Chelsea Nicole studied dance through the James W. Rouse Scholars Program at Howard Community College, Goucher College, and UMBC (where she acquired a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance). Chelsea enjoys helping others in her community and abroad, having served and used her love of dance to bring hope to the people of Bronkorspruit, South Africa and Quintana Roo, Mexico. She teaches and choreographs throughout the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. She has choreographed for the AKA Sorority’s Little Miss Ivy Pageant, Bethel Korean Presbyterian Church, Rayn Fall Dance Studio, BHS’s Graduation (2009 – 2016), and a variety of local musicals. She performed lead roles in Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, A Chorus Line, Peter Pan and Put a Ring on It (for which she was also the choreographer).
Some of Chelsea’s professional accomplishments include filming for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, performances at the World Summit, Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center (for Maryland’s First Lady, Katie O’Malley), and winning Columbia’s “Battle of the Dance”. She has also appeared in numerous dance concerts including C4 Performing Arts, UMBC, Baltimore Dance Project, and Deep Vision Dance Company.
Marcus AWNPOYNT Hayes
Behind AWNPOYNT’s relentless leadership, he would help co-create an annual city wide event titled ‘The FLAWLESS Music Festival’ which celebrated unity and peace in communities through the arts. While continuing to perform out within the region (all the while, earning consistent, positive attention) AWNPOYNT and FLAWLESS eventually would obtain performance slots for legendary national recording and performing artists such as Chuck Brown, Lupe Fiasco (twice), Method Man (Wu-Tang), Rakim, Masta Ace, Talib Kweli, Slick Rick, Melle Mel and more! [end] More on Marcus.
- Since 2003, no other group of artists have left such an important, powerful, fun, energetic, unifying impression (within the culture they represent) in their home town then AWNPOYNT and his musical group of friends that goes by the name FLAWLESS: undergroundbreaking music. Marcus AWNPOYNT Hayes is the leading emcee, co-producer & promoter for the popular regional hip-hop group “FLAWLESS”. Based out of Annapolis, MD, they broke down barriers and became known in their city by earning a reputation for superb, mesmerizing live performances, pulling their community together, captivating lyrics, highly magnetic and engaging personalities, plus phenomenal music production from DJ and beat-maker iLLMEASURED.
- Denyse Pearson whose distinctive, mellifluous voice and sparkling personality bring to life the American Jazz Songbook artfully and masterfully interpreted. Denyse has performed at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, frequently in Washington, DC’ Jazz in southwest at Westminster Church, Cafe Agape, aboard the SS Norway North Sea Jazz cruise, Baltimore’s famed Caton Castle for the 2015 Centennial Tribute to Billie Holiday featured with Dr. Phill’s 18-piece big band and Annapolis City Docks. She has traveled to Amsterdam, Switzerland, France and Norway answering the call of music performance. Denyse recently performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on the Millennium Stage and has returned to Mr. Henry’s on Capitol for an encore performance. She has performed in numerous theatrical productions and is honored to be among the cast of the Musical Odyssey From Africa to America. Denyse dedicates her performance to the ancestors, the living proof and our future generations.
Vivian Gist Spencer
Vivian Gist Spencer, Ph.D. has performed with professional and community theater groups in the Maryland and DC area, taught
- acting and dramatic literature, and directed theater. Receiving her training from a variety of professional theater companies, among them Victory Gardens in Chicago, Illinois, as well as Studio Theater and The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Vivian has acting credits that include Fences by August Wilson, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, and a one-woman show entitled Sweet Chariot, based on the life of Harriet Tubman.
A retired Professor of English and Theatre Arts, Vivian holds a Doctorate in English Language and Literature from University of Maryland and a Master of Arts in Communications/Theatre from University of Illinois, Chicago. Prior to instructing at Anne Arundel Community College for 29 years, she taught for 18 years in public secondary schools in Chicago, Illinois, her home, as well as in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. In recent years she has also begun teaching African American Literature at the O’Malley Senior Center in Odenton, Maryland. In addition to teaching and performing, Vivian writes and works together with her husband, vocalist and visual artist Tony Spencer, on a variety of artistic projects.
Tony Jerome Spencer
Along with his poetic and vocal gifts, Tony, is a freelance model and has executed various levels of acting: “The Meeting” with Kevin McClavain and Greg Alan Williams of Bay Watch, Remember the Titans, and The District, for Isuzu Rodeo: visual and voice-over, and a number of industrial videos for the FCC, the FAA, Motorola, and Radialkeratonomy with Dan Powell of Take One Video, Inc. [end]
- Independent Vocal Performer: Tony manages a performing artist career which has included appearances with Jimmy Smith, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, War, The Soul Stirrers, The Dixie Humming Birds, The Gospelaires, The Pilgrim Jubilee, James Cleveland, Shirley Caesar, for the Fishnet Festival with Larry & Bobbi Andes (1986-90), BeBe & CeCe Winans, Larnelle Harris, Carmen, Jesse Dixon, Twila Paris, First Call, The Bill Bather Vocal Band, Doug Ollgum, Michael W. Smith, Raheem DeVaughn, and many others. He has performed with various entities: internationally with the Calgary Alberta Philharmonic Orchestra, in Alba, Italy where he performed the “Mozart to Motown and More” Concert with St. Mary’s College, Stefan Scaggiari, Sue Matthews, Brian Ganz and other international artists in the 2003 Saluzzo Spring Festival, with Maestro Ernie Green and the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, in Tampa, Florida. In February ‘06 Tony accompanied Stefan Scaggiari in his hometown of Evansville, Indiana to perform the Mozart to Motown concert with the Evansville Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.
Wesley “Panama” Watkins
Wesley “Panama” is married to Brenda (24 years!) and they have two sons: Jermaine & Wesley K., and three grandchildren (Nathainel, Jasmin and Demauri). More on Wesley.
- Wesley “Panama” Watkins, Jr. is a native of Panama City, Florida. He grew up as a star athlete with a heart and ear for music. After a spiritual encounter that would prove to be life altering, his plans for continuing in his athletic career changed and he began to devote his time and energy to his new first love, MUSIC. At the age of 19 he began playing the drums and piano, and thus began a new chapter in his life.
Throughout his musical career in the Sarasota, Florida are he was instrumental in starting various choirs and groups and was awarded the Choir of the Year Award in 1976 in Palmetto, Florida.
Wesley came to the Maryland area in the year of 1985 and continued to play for church choirs and groups. In his quest to be able to play a wide range of music that he loved, in 2005 he decided to bring a group of musicians together and form a band called “Count-the-Cost”. His mantra was as long as it was good music that in some way glorified God, he would play it.