*New York, NY – On Sunday, October 16th, the much anticipated Martin Luther King Memorial Dedication will take place in Washington, D.C. President Obama, major civil rights leaders and entertainers will be in attendance to witness this momentous occasion. Grammy Award Winning Artist Miri Ben-Ari has the high honor of being the featured artist, performing her original composition “Black Tone” at 10am.

Although Ben-Ari has numerous accolades and holds the title of Grammy Award Winner, many still may not know her by name, but how many people have honed their skills with both superstar rapper Jay-Z and Carnegie Hall favorite Isaac Stern?

Ben-Ari, who was born and raised in Israel, started playing the violin at the age of five and dreamed of playing the violin on big stages in a non- traditional way. Her dream took her to New York City, where she arrived with almost no money and very poor English. Ben-Ari joined the New School Jazz department but soon had to drop out because she could not afford  the tuition. Ben-Ari began practicing music during the days and jamming during the nights at the NYC clubs in front of a wowed audience; however music industry personnel could not relate to Ben-Ari and thought she was too different to fit their regular artist format.

But Ben-Ari’s love of music knew no borders, and she was determined:

“I moved to America to pursue my dream; when you do something original and different you need to work much harder”.

By performing at the Apollo in NYC, her unique talent was discovered by Kanye West with whom she later won a Grammy for her work on the “College Dropout.” Wyclef Jean declared and acclaimed Ben-Ari as “The Hip Hop Violinist” and later on she signed her first major record deal with Universal Music.

When asked what it means to be performing on Sunday. Ben-Ari, states “I moved to the US all the way from Israel with a dream. It has been a tough journey; legacies such as MLK’s inspired me not to give up and to follow my Dream.”

Earlier this year, Ben-Ari was named one of twenty-five women from various backgrounds who were deemed a “Remarkable Women” by First Lady Michelle Obama.

“Being honored by First Lady inspired me to become a better person, artist and a mentor for others by sharing my story and music.”

What Ben-Ari remembers most from her day with Michele Obama is how she was moved by the choices each of the women had made and will continue to make. With her non-profit organization, “Gedenk”, Ben-Ari is living MLK’s dream by promoting youth education about anti-Semitism and the Jewish Holocaust. “Racism is the reason so many families get torn apart, I am a third generation to holocaust survivors and so the universal fight against racism is very personal to me. Being chosen to perform as the only non-African performer this Sunday, I feel that my story represents the “American dream” as well as the universal message of Martin Luther King, which encompasses freedom, rights and possibilities.”



Tamar Bazin
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