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So many events took place this weekend in conjunction with the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, but one of the biggest was the Freedom Sounds Festival: A Community Celebration on the National Mall.
The festival itself ran Friday through Sunday, with evening concerts held Saturday and Sunday night. Living Colour kicked off Saturday with an explosive set, and included an intense metal cover of The Clash‘s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” Public Enemy had old friend Professor Griff join in and, as one would expect, the band’s powerful and political message felt urgent and necessary. Flava Flav put out a plea for President Barack Obama to invite him to the White House while he’s still in office. “I just want to shake your hand, and maybe, take a picture,” he quipped. It was a hard act to follow, but if there’s one group that could follow a set like Public Enemy’s, it was The Roots. Full of energy and ready to party, Questlove and co. brought the funk.
“This is music from our town,” said Experience Unlimited lead talker Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliott at the start of the band’s set on Sunday. The go-go legends made sure that its unique pocket beat was heard blocks away. Yelling “wind me up” at the top of your lungs never felt so good.
More photos from all sets can be seen here.