Pre-inauguration event to honour culture and contribution of Black, other Americans of colour

The resiliency, culture and heroism of Black Americans and the African diaspora will be the central theme of a virtual event on Tuesday that will celebrate the country’s diversity on the eve of U.S. president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris is slated to speak at the event, called We Are One, which will also honour the historic nature of her being the first Black and South Asian woman to become U.S. vice-president.

Black voters nationwide helped deliver Biden’s presidency, overwhelmingly supporting him from the start of his White House bid. Black-led organizing work across the United States galvanized voters of colour and contributed to historic turnout in key battleground states.

Tony Allen, CEO of the inaugural committee, said the programming will “honour acts of resilience, heroism and commitment to unity” from Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities “as the coalitions that make up our nation come together to celebrate a new chapter in our history.”

Several of the country’s top Black leaders will deliver remarks, including House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a close ally of Biden whose endorsement in South Carolina widened his winning margin and started his avalanche of primary victories last March.

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn will also speak at the event, which is focused on unity. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

U.S. Black colleges and universities highlighted

Among other speakers: Stacey Abrams, whose voter registration and education efforts helped flip Georgia blue for Biden; Rep. Cedric Richmond; Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Joyce Beatty; Sen. Cory Booker; and the incoming senator from Georgia, Rev. Raphael Warnock.

The event will pay homage to the legacy of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU), as well as Black sororities and fraternities. Harris is the first HBCU graduate and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority member to be vice-president.

The sorority’s international president and CEO, Glenda Glover, and Howard University president Dr. Wayne Frederick will deliver remarks.

Stacey Abrams, who was seen as instrumental in delivering Georgia to Joe Biden in Senate run-off elections on Jan. 5, is also slated to speak. (Brynn Anderson/The Associated Press)

Musical acts and bands

The event will feature musical performances and appearances from activists and celebrities. It will be hosted by Terrence J and feature Leslie Jones, DJ D-Nice and Black cultural icons such as Frankie Beverly, the O’Jays and Rapsody.

The celebration also includes a Battle of the Bands and features several HBCUs, including: Delaware State University, Howard University, the Texas Southern University Debate Team, Florida A&M University Marching 100, Grambling State University World Famed Marching Band, Jackson State University Sonic Boom of the South, Louisiana Leadership Institute All-Star Marching Band, South Carolina State University Marching 101, Southern University Human Jukebox Marching Band, and the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands.

The event is part of five planned days of programming under the inaugural’s theme of “America United.” It will air Tuesday from 8 to 9:30 p.m. ET on social media and on select channels, including Urban One, Revolt TV and The Choice channel on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service.