MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mid-South native and multi-Grammy award winner Justin Timberlake returned to Memphis to perform during Joe Biden’s inauguration TV special Wednesday night.
Timberlake, along with Ant Clemons performed, “Better Days” inside of the Stax Museum in the Soulsville area of Memphis.
“The fact that the Stax Museum and Stax Music Academy were chosen by Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons and the Presidential Inaugural Committee to represent Memphis, Tennessee in the 2021 presidential inauguration, speaks not only volumes about the power, magic, and timelessness of soul music, but also casts a bright light on the work we have been doing here at the Soulsville Foundation for more than 20 years now,” said Soulsville Foundation President and CEO Richard Greenwald.
The two performers were joined by students and alumni of Stax Music Academy, music education and youth development program, to perform with them.
“Just seeing our city and seeing people who look like us and think like us, it was really nice,” said Violette Worley, 16, who was one of the performers.
Timberlake posted on his Instagram on Thursday, saying he had to give Memphis a moment. Not only is it his hometown, it’s a big part of music and American history.
He said it felt fitting to celebrate the new administration here.
The production was kept so under wraps those involved can’t talk about when they filmed or for how long. But the school, which has worked with Timberlake since 2019, said they were notified last minute.
“We are training these kids to be professionals, so you’ve always gotta be ready to go,” said Pat Mitchell Worley, executive director of STAX Music Academy.
Besides being broadcasted to tens of millions of people on air, the video is also gaining millions of views online as well.
“Better days are coming for Memphis, for America, for everybody and though 2020 was hard, 2021 is going to be a new year, we can start over, start fresh and everything will be better,” Violette Worley said.