Preview: 'Taking The Stage' - celebrating African-American music, stories that changed America

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The ABC special called "Taking The Stage" celebrates African-American music and stories that changed America.

It's two hours of entertainment featuring some of America's biggest stars, designed to honor the opening of the newest Smithsonian museum.

Moves to establish a National Museum of African American history and culture began a century ago. It took decades to actually fund and build on the National Mall in Washington. One million dollars to get it started came from Oprah Winfrey, who gave another 12 million of her own money to help finish it.

"Because I understood the value of creating an institution that allows a people, a nation, a world to understand its value," Winfrey said.

When a music icon stepped into this space for the first time, Quincy Jones had but one thought.

"At last. It's finally here. This is something we've been dreaming about hoping for, for a long time, but there it is politics, athletics slavery," he said.

The museum's opening last fall was celebrated at a Washington D.C. gala taped for broadcast.

"It had to sound and reflect what you see when you go into the museum. That's it to me," Jones said.

"All the entertainment is connected in some way to this story, but it's real important that people understand. It is an entertainment special," producer Don Mischer said.

Entertainment sure, but enlightenment too.

For those who couldn't be there back in September and the audience was made-up primarily of movers and shakers this special is a fine alternative. You can see it at 9:00 Thursday night on ABC 7.
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