The Civil Rights Game & interview with Roberta Flack - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

The Civil Rights Game & interview with Roberta Flack

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A celebration of diversity, as star-studded events took over Cincinnati for the weekend, as people of all backgrounds came together, celebrating those who've paved the way for the civil rights we enjoy today.

FOX19 takes a look at festivities surrounding the Civil Rights Game at Great American Ball Park.

They are the faces of the struggle, here to celebrate the victory. From the men who sat-down to stand-up to their oppressors.

To those people whose extraordinary talents and gifts broke barriers and lifted men and women of color above the racial divide.

"You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

Singer-songwriter and music legend, Roberta Flack, who was a close, personal friend of John Lennon, invoked his eternal message of peace with, "Imagine*.

"It speaks to what we're all hoping the world will eventually represent," Flack said. "A place where we can live as brothers and sisters in peace, a brotherhood of man. John Lennon wrote that song with a lot of love in his heart."

Flack said she still lives in the building, "The Dakota", where Lennon lived.

"I moved-in the same year that he and Yoko did," she said. "I knew them, I knew him, we were all friends, iIm still friends with Yoko."

Flack is a true civil rights pioneer. Before there was Roberta Flack superstar, there was Robert Flack schoolteacher. And at age 15, she was the youngest African American woman to land a music scholarship to college, Howard University.

Flack was the first African American teacher at an all-white school in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and was a musical prodigy during her days at Howard University. We asked if she had a sense that she was destined for some great things? "I didn't have a sense," she said. "I was hoping."

The ball park erupted with cheers and applause for one of Flack's lifelong friends, Billie Jean King.

"She and I worked out at a gym together when I first moved to New York with Arthur Ashe," she said. "I'm name dropping, but picture me with all of these athletes and here I am today at the civil rights game."

Along with greats like Harry Belafonte and Hank Aaron. Flack said she hopes her words of peace and love in her songs over the years have lifted people's attitudes.

"You always write about love in your songs, "Tonight I Celebrate My Love", "You're Looking Like Love To Me", "Where Is The Love?", 'Oh my goodness!" she exclaimed. "You know all of them! "the First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", 'Yes, yes, 'Tonight I Celebrate My Love", so it is a wonderful thing and love is a wonderful thing, I wouldn't have missed this for the world, I feel so blessed," she said.

"You've been there, you've done that, people still love you, you've never gone away so we're so glad you are here, "That's another song I did, I know you know that thought because you rattled off so many of them, thanks so much, I could sing almost all of them, 'thank you'!"

Getting kisses from a pioneer and musical powerhouse I've admired all my life, "can you imagine?".

"Can you imagine!," she sang as she finished Lennon's song. A fitting tribute on this day celebrating our freedoms, at this year's Civil Right's Game. 

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