Hip-hop Comes to Beit Hanassi

We first met her at a special performance in Nashville during the GA. Now, Grammy Award-winning musician Miri Ben-Ari, the Israeli “hip hop violinist” who is best known for her collaborations with artists Kanye West and Jay Z, was awarded the first annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Israel Award for her work in bringing together African American and Jewish communities closer together through music.

from the official press release…
“This award seeks to bring attention, recognition and re­membrance of the dynamic relationship between African Americans and Jews, particularly highlighting the pinnacle of that friendship seen during the Civil Rights Movement in America under the leadership of Reverend King. It will be presented in honor of Black and Jewish leaders who have helped to fur­ther the friendship and cooperation between both peoples.”

The honor was a nod to Ben-Ari’s 2006 single, “Symphony of Brotherhood“, an instrumental song featuring King’s “I have a dream” speech. Released in 2006, it became the first instrumental single to ever hit Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop charts, where it spent 10 weeks in the Top 10.

“Everything about that song was a miracle,” Ben-Ari said this past Tuesday during her latest visit to Jerusalem, on what would have been MLK’s 79th birthday. At an event, hosted by President Shimon Peres, with video playing on two screens behind her, Ben-Ari performed the song for the first time ever in Israel.

“We all have that dream of, one day, not having racism in the world,” Ben-Ari said before receiving the award. “It’s a dream for all of us, especially the Jews.”

In addition to all of her many musical achievements, Miri is also the founder of the Gedenk Movement, a youth education organization focusing on anti-Semitism, the holocaust and the resulting consequences. “Being a third generation to Holocaust survivors, I have always believed in the fight against racism.