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Playing @ Work Review by The Citizen


Hugh Masekela – Playing @ Work

The Citizen Online
Kulani Nkuna

Bra Hugh Masekela is back in his melodic popular jazz element with this album, which sounds like it was recorded in a jovial setting.
RATING: 7/10

Even with songs that have serious messages, like Africa Hold Hands, Masekela plays with the arrangements, creating songs that could easily be enjoyed at a wedding or party but in which he tackles issues such as xenophobia and pan-Afri-canism. Vocals play a huge role, with sharp lyrics that tell stories of years and years of knowledge and experience.

Go Look Out For Mama is a soulful meditation and speaks of the balance to be found in this album. Masekela has made his name long ago and he now makes his music with a great awareness of self and what he stands for.

He is simply playing at work, as the title suggests.

US Churches Honour Bra Hugh


The TimesAndile Ndlovu

Veteran trumpeter Hugh Masekela followed in Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s footsteps in being honoured with a “Keepers of the Flame” award at the African American Church Inaugural Ball on Sunday night.

The event – to honour Barack Obama’s re-election as US president – follows the one in 2009 when Obama assumed office.

Masekela performed a musical tribute to former president Nelson Mandela at the black-tie event held at The Grand Hyatt in Washington.

The event’s programme read: “Hugh Masekela is a world-renowned musician, composer, and a defiant political voice who remains deeply connected to his homeland and the world.

“The agony, conflict, and exploitation South Africa faced during the 1950s and 1960s inspired the world. Masekela is known for his musical mix of jazz, bebop, funk and Afrobeat. He has won numerous awards, made countless records and established himself as a towering musical presence.”

The event was themed “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.

Others honoured included boxing legend Muhammad Ali; the first African American astronaut candidate, Ed Dwight; the first African American to be appointed as surgeon-general of the US, Jocelyn Elders; and singer Aretha Franklin.

The Rev W Franklyn Richardson, who is the chairman of the Conference of National Black Churches, hosted the event.

Those honoured in 2009 included author and poet Maya Angelou, publisher and philanthropist Earl Graves snr, civil rights activist and Baptist minister the Rev Al Sharpton and Tutu.

Journalist Roland Martin tweeted yesterday: “Just got a wonderful word of encouragement from South African artist Hugh Masekela! He said I have lots of fans in the Motherland! #honored [sic].

“Masekela said to always speak truth on @cnn and don’t stop fighting. We need your voice to speak to the world. I was touched by his words .”

Keepers of the Flame


African American Church Inaugural Ball Celebrates 2nd Inauguration of Pres. Obama; Honors ‘2013 Keepers of the Flame’

New Journal and Guide


The African American Church Inaugural Ball will be held on Sunday, January 20, 2013, at 6 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt Washington. Like its premiere event in 2009, this year’s event will feature leaders and influencers from the religious, civic, business, arts, and entertainment communities. Attendees will gather to honor the 44th U.S. president, Barack Obama, and the great history and strength of the African American church, and its impact on the community.

Themed, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the African American Church Inaugural Ball will honor extraordinary leaders with the “2013 Keepers of the Flame” Award. The recipients are individuals who have sustained an unshakable commitment to our future and who have earned an undeniable place in the African American book of history. Confirmed honorees include: Muhammad Ali; Bishop George E. Battle, Jr.; Bishop Philip R. Cousin, Sr.; Andraé Crouch; Ed Dwight; Joycelyn Elders, MD; Bishop William H. Graves, Sr.; Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale; Hugh Masekela; Rev. Dr. Otis J. Moss, Jr.; Jessye Norman; Beny Primm, MD, and Cicely Tyson.

Other honorees to be confirmed include: The Honorable Andrew Young, Hon. William J. Clinton, Ruby Dee, Aretha Franklin, Rev. Dr. Cain Hope Felder, Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon, and Dr. Vernon J. Jordan, Sr.

In 2009, distinguished honorees included: Dr. Maya Angelou, Donna Brazile, Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, Dr. John Hope Franklin, Earl Graves, Sr., Rev. Dr. William H. Gray, III, Bishop Barbara Harris, Dr. Dorothy I. Height, The Honorable Alexis Herman, Rev. Dr. Benjamin Hooks, Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Marc Morial, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Gardner Taylor, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, Sr.

As part of the evening’s celebration, musical legend and 2013 Keeper of the Flame Honoree Hugh Masekela to present a musical tribute to SA President Nelson Mandela in honor of President Barack H. Obama.

“This inauguration is an extraordinary mark in American history, punctuated by those who so gallantly served so we could see such a time,” said Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, II, Inaugural Ball Chair and pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Mt. Vernon, NY. “This is certainly a time when the African American church community can be proud of its contributions to this great country and honor the work that has been done and those who have made an indelible footprint in the sands of history.”

The Executive Producer is Pernessa Seele, who is the Founder/CEO of The Balm In Gilead, Inc., the gala’s fundraising beneficiary. The Balm In Gilead, a nonprofit, international organization, is committed to a dynamic, community-driven approach, contributing a lasting response to health disparities and ensuring that African Americans will become fully knowledgeable about the Affordable Care Act.

“A new day is dawning, as the leadership of African American churches mark another historic moment in America’s history, while making a commitment to address health disparities, including the enormous challenges of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, cervical cancer, and sexual violence,” said Seele.

“This African American Church Inaugural Ball not only celebrates history and President Obama’s second term, it also honors the work that he has enacted, such as The Affordable Care Act, an essential tool for decreasing the rates of preventable diseases in African American communities. The Balm In Gilead is proud to be in partnership with our president, and we responsibly take the charge to ensure that faith institutions have the appropriate tools for educating their communities about this signature law that President Barack Obama has stamped into American history.”

Seele, whose voice spans continents, was included in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Persons in the World and Essence Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women Shaping Our World, along with Oprah Winfrey.

For more information on the African American Church Inaugural Ball, visit

For more information on Pernessa Seele and The Balm In Gilead, visit