WATCH: Solange and Esperanza Spalding Sing for Resistance at Peace Ball

By Sameer Rao Jan 20, 2017

Washington D.C.-based restaurant group Busboys and Poets offered a counternarrative to yesterday’s (January 19) presidential inauguration concert with its "Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance." 


Join us at the @nmaahc for a gathering to celebrate the accomplishments and successes of the past 4 years and the vow to continue to be the change we want to see in the world. Ticket link in bio #peaceball “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” – Howard Zinn

A photo posted by Busboys and Poets (@busboysandpoets) on


Musicians Solange and Esperanza Spalding headlined last night’s sold-out concert at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The show boasted an extensive roster of artists, activists and writers including Alicia Garza, Melissa Harris-Perry and Sonia Sanchez. Angela Davis introduced Solange as "one who will help us to produce the anthems of resistance." 

"The Peace Ball is a gathering of artists and activists and progressives to sort of take a moment and pause and assess all the successes we’ve had for the past few years—successes around the environment, around marriage equality, around women’s rights," Busboys and Poets founder Anas "Andy" Shallal told NPR on Monday (January 15). "Sometimes in very difficult times, we forget to stop and celebrate and take that pause."

Spalding elaborated on that concept in an interview with Vogue yesterday:

There’s this idea called "we the people," and I really love the "we" in that phrase, because it doesn’t wave the flag of "us" or "them." I think I have fallen into the bad habit of thinking of myself as an "us" and actually identifying other fellow citizens as "them." That can’t work in a system of democracy that is built on the ideal of "we." That’s an ideal that obviously we’ve struggled with as a people here in the United States of America. And what I see in this Peace Ball is an idea of a "we" to celebrate. To say, "Yeah, [Trump] is our president. This is a part of our ‘we.’" But this Peace Ball is also a part of that "we." That’s why I wanted to be a part of it, and that’s why I’m excited to be in D.C. at this time, because I’m ready to start practicing what "we" actually means.

Neither Busboys and Poets nor the NMAAHC had posted a full concert video at press time, but Billboard compiled the following clips of Solange and Spalding’s performances from attendees’ Instagram accounts: 


#solange #peaceballdc @officialistmag #TGAUNIFIED @saintrecords @missnocepr @alliedmedia @nmaahc @busboysandpoets

A video posted by TaraGatesAnderson (@taragatesanderson) on



#peaceball Solange!

A video posted by Ann Ware (@heyfivehey) on



#PressPlay #Solange slaying at the #PeaceBall at #BusBoysAndPoets! Via: @onsitefotos

A video posted by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on




#AngelaDavis #Solange #PeaceBall2017 #PeaceBall

A video posted by The Black Danny Tanner (@therealdcmayor) on



Esperanza!!!! #resist #peaceballdc #peaceball2017

A video posted by District Diva (@brookeobie) on



The only way through. #peaceball2017

A video posted by Elizabeth Kaplan (@e_lazarre) on

(H/t The Daily Beast