Watch Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Martin Luther King Day Celebration

Watch Prince, Ruth Brown, Jennifer Hudson and more perform on the Rock Hall's MLK celebration video.

By Nate Todd Jan 17, 2022 12:26 pm PST

Prince, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and more are highlighted in The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame’s video celebrating Martin Luther King Day 2022. Jennifer Hudson and Robert Randolph also join host and Rock Hall VP of Education and Engagement Jason Hanley on a journey through rock ‘n’ roll’s roots in African American music through Black artists’ continual shaping and innovating of popular music to the present day.

The video starts with Prince’s performance for his 2004 Rock Hall induction. While his guitar solo on an all star jam of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that same year is known as one of the greatest Rock Hall performances of all time, the video features Prince playing his classic “Let’s Go Crazy” which sees the guitarist thrilling as well.

Jennifer Hudson then talks about Aretha Franklin and her role as the Queen Of Soul in the 2021 film Respect, touching on the universality of the song “Respect” as well as Aretha’s own relatability. The second performance then features the pioneering Queen Of R&B, Ruth Brown, whose hits in the 1950s like “So Long,” “Teardrops from My Eyes” and “(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean” garnered Atlantic Records — a label that went on to put out so many important rock records — the nickname, “the house that Ruth built.” Rock Hall’s MLK video sees Ruth performing the aforementioned “(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean” at her 1993 induction with guitarist Bonnie Raitt.

Next, sacred steel guitarist Robert Randolph gives some insight into gospel’s influence on popular music throughout the decades. Rock Hall curator Sule Holder spotlights gospel’s role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s as well as its influence on artists including Aretha, Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke, James Brown and many more. Holder highlights JB’s concert in Boston the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 as the show that “saved Boston” when tensions were running high in the city. Additionally, Sule speaks about contemporary musician activists like Janelle Monáe. Holder also highlights Jimi Hendrix and his iconic performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock which was not only innovative from a guitar standpoint but also forced people to think about the United States in a different way.

The video ends with a super-cut of performers at the 2021 Rock Hall induction including a spotlight on the Queen Of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner, who was inducted as a solo artist in 2021. Jennifer Hudson also delivers inductee Carole King’s “Natural Woman,” a song immortalized by Aretha Franklin. Additionally, the super-cut features performances by H.E.R., Gary Clark Jr. and LL Cool Jay among others along with an all-star lyric video honoring inductee JAY-Z.

Watch the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 2022 MLK virtual celebration below:

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