In a surprise move the Presidential Inauguration put Memphis in the spotlight

Memphis back in the national spotlight

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - “Better days are coming” was the message nationally televised during the “Celebrating America” special after the Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Memphis’ own Justin Timberlake returned home to perform with Grammy-nominated Artist Ant Clemons and Stax Music Academy students and alumni in front of the Iconic Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

“It’s hard to keep secrets in this town,” said Stax Music Academy Executive Director, Pat Mitchell Worley.

Worley said when they got the call from JT and his team, they were grateful to answer.

“As a music education program, we train our students that you’ve got to always be ready. You don’t know when you can get an opportunity that you’ll remember for the rest of your life,” Worley said.

Worley’s Daughter Violette was among the students who got to perform with Timberlake.

“Everything was so eye opening and eye catching just being a part of that big of a production and the message that we sent through our voices,” Violette said.

Worley said for many of the students, it was their first Screen Actors Guild Production where they were paid as professionals.

She said she’s grateful that Stax Music Academy could be a part of such a historic moment, with an important message that puts the Bluff City in the Spotlight, yet again.

“It really was the message that the country needed, and for us to have the opportunity to sing out hope to America from Memphis Tennessee I mean, come on...doesn’t get any better than that.”

The exposure comes at a time where Memphis Tourism is down more than 50%.

“For him to be a part of the inauguration simulcasted at the same time on every network at Stax one of our great attractions it was just priceless for the City of Memphis,” said Memphis Tourism President/CEO Kevin Kane.

Tuesday, Singer and businesswoman Rihanna posted a photo to her millions of followers that shows her outside of the National Civil Rights Museum.

“Got cabin fever last summer and took a road trip to Memphis. Man, I can’t describe the feeling that came over me, you gotta go to experience it for yourself,” the tweet read.

“If she thinks that outside was powerful, she will find the stories that we tell in here just as powerful as well,” said Noelle Trent with the National Civil Rights Museum.

Trent said she hopes Rihanna’s post will inspire others from across the world to experience the National Civil Rights Museum and Memphis as well.

“I think it’s great to have celebrities promote Memphis and the museum because we’re all looking for what’s the thing, we’re going to do post-COVID, and so the hope is that her post would not only encourage people to come to Memphis and spend time here, but also delve deeper into the stories we tell here at the Civil Rights Museum,” Trent said.

Kane said he hopes once more people get vaccinated and people feel comfortable traveling, that they’ll choose to come to Memphis.

“Tourism and hospitality have been so devastating not only in Memphis but all over the country, so anything positive is going to help us for the future, and we know this is going to be the roaring 20s again when people feel safe to travel,” Kane said.

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