Bruce Springsteen headlines 'Shining a Light' concert on race relations

Bruce Springsteen and John Legend launched "Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America" Wednesday with a rendition of "American Skin (41 Shots)," a song Springsteen wrote about the 1999 police shooting death. 

(Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)
Bruce Springsteen, left, and John Legend perform at Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America at the Shrine Auditorium on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Los Angeles.

Bruce Springsteen rocked out with John Legend, Eric Church teamed up with Smokey Robinson, and Miguel wailed alongside Tori Kelly at a musical event focusing on race relations in America.

Springsteen and Legend launched "Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America" at the Shrine Auditorium on Wednesday with a rendition of "American Skin (41 Shots)," a song Springsteen wrote about the 1999 police shooting death of Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo.

"Tonight, as we mourn the loss of life in Paris, let us rededicate ourselves to erasing the hate and to creating an America where we can all move on up together toward justice, community, love, brotherhood, sisterhood and freedom," said actor Morgan Freeman at the beginning of the evening.

The all-star concert was peppered with several duets, including Miguel and Kelly covering En Vogue's "Free Your Mind" and Nick Jonas joining Andra Day for her "Rise Up." Church was backed up for his song "Kill a Word" by Robinson, as well as Alicia Keys and Aloe Blacc.

Legend racked up the most collaborations of the night on stage. After kicking off the concert with Springsteen, he was later united with Pink for "Someday We'll All Be Free" and closed out the event with Big Sean for "One Man Can Change the World."

The concert was taped for a two-hour special that will air Friday across A&E Networks and iHeartRadio radio and TV stations.

Other performers Wednesday included Zac Brown Band, Sia, Rhiannon Giddens, Sting, Ed Sheeran and Jamie Foxx, who brought his 6-year-old daughter, Annalise, on stage with her friends and asked her to recite the books of the Bible.

Jill Scott delivered the night's most captivating performance, crooning "Strange Fruit," the protest song popularized by Billie Holiday, in front of giant screens displaying imagery of lynching.

The night's performances weren't relegated to singing alone. Nicki Minaj recited the Maya Angelou poem "Still I Rise," while comedian George Lopez poked fun at Donald Trump.

"Demographics in this country are changing every second of every day," Lopez said. "You can build a thousand walls, 100 feet high, and nothing will change that. You know why? Because we've got tunnels."

Between performances, videos about racial inequality and violence in Baltimore; Charleston, South Carolina; and Ferguson, Missouri, were broadcast to the audience.

Pharrell Williams spoke with families at the South Carolina church where nine black parishioners were shot and killed June 17. He also performed his song "Freedom."

Keys visited mothers and children in Baltimore, where protests and rioting followed in April after the death of Freddie Gray, who died after he was injured in police custody.

Legend talked with the wives of police officers in Ferguson, where the death of Michael Brown led to protests and unrest.

The proceeds from the sold-out event will go to the Fund for Progress on Race in America through the United Way.



You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Bruce Springsteen headlines 'Shining a Light' concert on race relations
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today