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"...Freedom songs are the soul of the movement."

- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As Martin Luther King Day approaches, BlackRock Center for the Arts is honored to present our 2nd annual SAY IT LOUD! MLK Event at BlackRock on January 13, 2024.

This year we have broadened the scope of the original SAY IT LOUD! Film Festival concept to incorporate the musical soul of the movement — SAY IT LOUD! PLAY IT LOUD! The event will feature a full day of FREE programming: films, two art exhibitions, DJ’s and a record fair, as well as an evening ticketed concert by The Jogo Project featuring Desiree Jordan with a very special tribute to the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. This Concert will feature an opening performance by Nag Champa Art Ensemble!

SAY IT LOUD! PLAY IT LOUD! is sponsored by Potomac Valley Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, and Wegmans Food Markets.



Planifique su visita

13 de enero a las 19:30

14 de enero a partir de la 1:30 p. m. 

12901 Town Commons Drive

Germantown, MD 20874


Paseo en autobús desde Shady Grove


From work songs to spirituals, protest anthems to the blues, rock n’ roll, and the free improvisation of jazz and hip hop,  American popular music grows from the roots of the Black 

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Tickets start at $35.00. Both performances are included with a ticket.

8:00 P.M. 



Primarily based out of Washington, D.C., Nag Champa Art Ensemble is about organic sounds and textures. Fusing elements of jazz, soul, electronic, Go-Go, and African Rhythms, there is always a sense of the human element, even though many compositions are conceived on a laptop.



The JoGo Project is a WAMMIE Award-winning Jazz and Go-Go fusion band from Washington, DC founded in 2014 by DC Native Elijah Jamal Balbed, who performed with the late, great Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown. Elijah played in Chuck's band from May of 2011 until Mr. Brown's passing the following year. Elijah's last gig with Chuck was in February 2012 and the last few songs were recorded on a camera phone from an audience member. A few years later, Elijah was accepted into the Artist-in-Residence program at Strathmore and decided it was time to start a band to continue Chuck's legacy and bring his Jazz and Go-Go worlds together - hence The JoGo Project. Nine years later, JoGo has become a mainstay in the DC music community and is dedicated as ever to keeping DC's Go-Go music alive while also exploring new sounds and repertoire. Over the years, the band has written several original songs and arrangements, having recorded an EP and several singles including a collaboration with the legendary Sugar Bear. In 2017, JoGo Project was commissioned to write 3 original works that were exclusively featured in the video game Tom Clancy's The Division 2.

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"Desiree Jordan has the grace of Vanessa [Williams], the timeless beauty of Lena [Horne], and the feistiness of Dorothy [Dandridge]. Not only could she perform at the Grammys, but she could present at the Oscars.”--Dr. Wesley A. Boyd, legendary music director and vocal coach to Patti LaBelle and Yolanda Adams. Desiree Jordan is a vocal music performer, recording artist, pianist, and producer on a quest to #KeepGoodMusicAlive-- delivering a message of love and light with gifts described as angelic and “Anointed.” Her performing arts passion evolved from growing up in a musical family in Silver Spring, Maryland. She devotes her sound-healing gifts as a genre-crossing performance artist, as a member of several music collectives & bands, and as a collaborator on the records of countless fellow artists. Interpreting music from Gospel to Classical, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz and Funk, Soul, to Pop and Electronic, Desiree has shared her musical gifts nationally and internationally. She is honored to have performed on famed stages such as Washington DC’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Blues Alley Jazz Supper Club and City Winery; NYC’s Sounds of Brazil (S.O.B.’s), B.B. Kings Blues Club, and The Shrine World Music Venue; and more.


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