In the midst of being approved to leave South Africa today (Nov. 22) after violating local immigration laws earlier this year, hip-hop legend yasiin bey (formerly known as Mos Def) has partnered with the Apollo Theater and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to present his final U.S. performances. The special engagements will begin with a Dec. 21 show at Harlem, New York’s Apollo. Then bey will head to Washington, D.C. for a Dec. 31-Jan. 2, 2017 New Year’s Eve celebratory run at the Kennedy Center.
At the top of 2016, the rapper/activist/actor announced his plans to retire from the music business. During his farewell appearances, bey will perform songs from a different album each night — including The New Danger, True Magic, The Ecstatic and Black on Both Sides — alongside new material, while each performance will feature surprise special guests . In addition, the Kennedy Center shows will be highlighted by a post-show party in the venue’s Grand Foyer. The rapper’s artwork, as well as that of other artists in his arts, culture and lifestyle collective A Country Called Earth (ACCE), will be anonymously displayed at both venues.
“We’re so excited to collaborate with the Kennedy Center on what will be a milestone moment in not only hip-hop history but also in popular culture,” said the Apollo Theater’s executive producer Kamilah Forbes in a statement. The bey performances mark the third collaboration between the Apollo Theater and the Kennedy Center. Prior shows include Harlem Nights/U Street Lights starring jazz pianist Jason Moran and Apollo Music Café: New Voices in Jazz featuring Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead.