Erykah Badu Lit Up the Stage at the House of Blues Foundation’s Annual Dr. King Celebration

Published January 22, 2013 by Caitlin Clark

The Internation House of Blues Foundation’s Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration was full of life, incredible talent, and inspiring thoughts. Four-time Grammy award winning singer/songwriter and Dallas’ own Erykah Badu kicked off the event by addressing the packed main theater.

Erykah Badu


“Fear can no longer be a part of the way we operate,” said Badu.

Her talent for singing translated beautifully to her speaking voice. She was lovely, eloquent, and inspiring, reminiscing on both the accomplishments of King as well as the current achievements made by President Obama on the day of his inauguration.

“President Obama, who we are very proud of, makes me know that my son could be president, or my daughter could be president, he gives us that encouragement,” said Badu, “But we’re not done. We have to continue to operate on a high frequency of love.”

Badu’s speech was followed by musical, oratory, dance and visual art presentations by students from Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary, the Dallas Black Dance AcademyEdward H. Cary Middle SchoolThriving Minds After-School ProgramTriple A Academy, and more. The students were encouraged to use King’s life and words as well as his continuing influence on contemporary life as inspiration for their visual or performance artwork.

Aolani Hill


Adults are usually forced to observe student presentations with a grain of salt; this was not the case at “Inspired By His Words.” From the tiny Aolani Hill and her big voice, to the stunning young performers of the Dallas Black Dance Academy, the children were passionate, talented, moving, and entirely entertaining.

It was a remarkable celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and wonderful place to commemorate how far we’ve come.

Dallas Black Dance Academy's Senior Performing Ensemble
Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble
Dallas Black Dance Academy's Junior Performing Ensemble
Thriving Minds After-School Program

For more photos from the Inspired By His Words event, head to our Flickr account.