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BWW Feature: SANKOFA: A CELEBRATION CONCERT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSIC AND HISTORY at Myron's Cabaret Jazz At The Smith Center

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BWW Feature: SANKOFA: A CELEBRATION CONCERT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSIC AND HISTORY at Myron's Cabaret Jazz At The Smith Center

February is Black History month celebrating the richness of African American culture. Michelle Johnson, known as the Las Vegas First Lady of Jazz, will present Sankofa: a Celebration Concert of African American Music and History at Myron's Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center Feb. 23.

Michelle Johnson stars along with her special guests and features a killer live band under the direction of David Rogers. The show will rejoice in the musical contributions of Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Prince, Ella Fitzgerald, Sam Cooke, and Earth Wind and Fire. The lyrics and melodies will transport the audience on a journey through soul, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, spirituals, and hip hop.

Las Vegas favorite Skye Dee Miles will be performing some classic blues in her show-stopping style. Grammy Award-winner Skip Martin (the former lead singer of Kool and the Gang and current lead singer of the Dazz Band), Toscha Comeaux (Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition finalist), American Idol finalist Ken "Fletch" Walcott, viral Internet sensation Tymara Walker, and R&B vocalist Avana Christie round out the talent performing in the show.

"As an African American entertainer and producer, it is something I have always wanted to do here in Las Vegas. It is a history I identify with personally and I take great pride in it, and it also gives me a chance to showcase some of the outstanding local talent from the African American community here in Las Vegas," says Johnson. "My father is from the West African country of Liberia, and my mother is African American and from Detroit, so I am quite literally an African American. I was exposed to so many different kinds of art and music growing up." Johnson combines her background and influences to create a show to feature that features her musical peers as well as herself in a reflection of the richness of African American cultural history. "This is a dream come true."

The concept of "Sankofa" (from the Twi language of Ghana) is to remember, reflect, and celebrate the past while moving toward the future. The literal translation of Sankofa is "Go back and get it" and the word is often represented with the Asante Adinkra symbol of a stylized heart shape or with the image of a bird with its head turned back, its feet facing forward, and holding a precious egg in its mouth.

Johnson delivers soaring vocals, a versatile repertoire, and the ability to engage an audience in a dynamic, personal, and intimate way. She has performed at The Smith Center many times as well as in cabarets and performing arts centers across the country. Johnson has appeared on Broadway and toured or recorded with legendary artists including Gladys Knight, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, and Paul McCartney. Johnson is the recipient of the National Association of Women Business Owners Woman of Distinction Award for her contributions in entertainment. She was recently honored as the 2020 Las Vegas Black Music Awards recipient of the Lena Horne Award for Musical Excellence. For more information, visit www.michellejohnson.com.

Sankofa: a Celebration Concert of African American Music and History will be performed at Myron's Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Feb. 23. Showtime is 3 p.m., and tickets start at $25. To purchase tickets, call The Smith Center box office at 702.749-2000 or click here.


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