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The Roots & Public Enemy Perform for NMAAHC Grand Opening Freedom Sounds Festival

By Wanda J Coppage wanda.coppage@musictimes.com | Sep 26, 2016 05:28 PM EDT

History was made in Washington D.C. over the weekend with the opening of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Freedom Sounds Festival was just as historic, adding performances from many different groups like The Roots and Public Enemy, who gave a special tribute performance of "Fight The Power" in honor of the late "Radio Raheem," Bill Nunn.

On Saturday Sept. 24, the doors to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) were officially opened to the public, as reported by CNN.

The grand opening was proceeded by a dedication ceremony with President Barack Obama who spoke to the significance of African American history, of both past and present, and how the museum's purpose is to preserve that history for not just African Americans but, for all Americans.

"This national museum helps to tell a richer and fuller story of who we are," President Obama explained during the opening ceremony. "By knowing this other story we better understand ourselves and each other."

The ideal of that rich and full story was demonstrated on stage during the live performances of many talented artists during the free 3-day Freedom Sounds Festival. According to Smithsonian Folk Life Institution, three full days of enjoying various genres of live music was experienced on the Washington Monument grounds.

"Music traditions such as jazz; R&B, gospel, folk, classical, New Orleans brass band, Afro-Latin jazz, and hip-hop," were the sounds that concert-goers, who traveled near and far to be present in D.C. from Sept. 23 to Sept. 25, got the chance to experience.

Evening concerts began on Saturday night with Living Colour, The Roots and Public Enemy who gave crowd pleasing performances.

Chuck D, Flavor Flav and more group members had the crowd rocking and pumping their fists while performing the hip hop classic, off Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing soundtrack, "Fight The Power."

The early '90s single became synonymous with one of the film's main characters, Radio Raheem, (Nunn) who was known for blasting the single on his oversized boom box in the film.

Nunn died on the same day the hip hop group performed at the festival so in his memory the group gave a special rendition of their classic hit as retweeted from @africanvoices on their Twitter.

The Roots also took the stage on Saturday night and retweeted video footage of their onstage performance, courtesy of Darryl @nexxus420.

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