NMAAHC Taking The Stage Portraits
Robyn Twomey / Redux Pictures

Celebrities and artists came out in droves to support the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture last year, and there was no shortage of events and festivities to celebrate the historic moment.

Now, viewers at home will get a front row seat to the hottest ticket in town when ABC airs Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories That Changed America, a program held in honor of the museum to reflect on how the contributions of Black America enriched art, culture, music and history.

The event was taped at Washington’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts last September.

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ESSENCE and PEOPLE were on hand to capture some of the behind-the-scenes moments, snapping intimate portraits of our favorite celebrities, including Jada Pinkett Smith, Oprah, Common and Jesse Williams.

Take a look at the beautiful portraits and don’t forget to tune into Taking The Stage on Jan. 12, 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.