(L-R) Mary J. Blige, Common, Usher and Gladys Knight

(L-R) Mary J. Blige, Common, Usher and Gladys Knight

*The Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opened its doors with an all-star tribute on ABC’sTaking the Stage,” a two-hour program of music, dance and the spoken word to air Thursday, Jan 12 (9:00–11:00 p.m. EST).

World-renowned dignitaries, athletes and artists from around the globe came together for the program at Washington’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The special will feature new film footage of iconic items from the museum’s collections – items ranging from a plane used to train the famed Tuskegee airmen for World War II combat duty to a bible owned by Nat Turner. The film is accompanied by music, dance and dramatic readings by a wide range of stage and screen actors.

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Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture

Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture

ABC previously announced entertainers who would participate in the special, including Angela Bassett, Dave Chappelle, Chuck D., Doug E. Fresh, Savion Glover, Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Quincy Jones, Rashida Jones, Elijah Kelley, Janelle Monae, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Octavia Spencer, Chris Tucker, Jesse Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, Patti Austin, Christina Aguilera, Alvin Ailey dancers, Angela Bassett, Jon Batiste, Shirley Caesar, Chloe x Halle, Gary Clark Jr., Common, Cynthia Erivo, Fantasia, Jamie Foxx, Robert Glasper, Dave Grohl with Trouble Funk, Herbie Hancock, Gladys Knight, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin, NeYo and Usher.

The executive producers were Don Mischer and Quincy Jones, along with Don Mischer Productions’ Charlie Haykel and Juliane Hare.

The production was filmed on September 23 and will air on ABC stations nationwide on Thursday, January 12.