Academy & Grammy Award-winning artist Jon Batiste to perform musical tribute to Negro Leagues for "MLB at Rickwood Field"

Powerful Ceremony Will Air Nationally During FOX’s Exclusive Coverage on June 20th, Featuring the Largest Formal Gathering of Negro Leagues Players in Nearly 30 Years; Golden Globe & Grammy Award-Winning Singer/Songwriter Andra Day Performs “Rise Up” During First-Ever SU2C Placard Moment Away from the All-Star Game & World Series; MLB Announces Pregame & Performance Details for All Rickwood Field Events, Including Metro Boomin Postgame Concert on June 19th

June 18th, 2024

Major League Baseball today announced details of the special ceremonies and tributes surrounding each of the events scheduled to take place at Rickwood Field this week, with Academy and multi-Grammy Award-winning artist Jon Batiste headlining the performances with a personally curated ensemble prior to MLB at Rickwood Field between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants on Thursday, June 20th.

The three events at Rickwood Field, including MiLB at Rickwood (Tuesday, June 18th) and Barnstorm Birmingham (Wednesday, June 19th), are all in tribute to the Negro Leagues and its players, as well as a celebration of the history of America’s oldest ballpark. Negro Leagues players from Birmingham will be part of the first pitch ceremonies before MiLB at Rickwood, while approximately 60 Negro Leagues players will be honored guests prior to MLB at Rickwood on June 20th. This will be the largest official gathering of Negro Leagues players in nearly 30 years.

Spotlighting the strong connection between the Negro Leagues and jazz, Batiste, along with creative director and Emmy-nominated choreographer Jemel McWilliams, has created a pregame ceremony musical performance that captures the spirit and energy of the players and the legacy of the Negro Leagues. Special musical guests invited by Batiste to pay homage include country music artist Brittney Spencer, country music artist Willie Jones and blues singer C.S. Armstrong. The performance includes Batiste’s hit songs, “Master Power” from his album World Music Radio and “I Need You” from WE ARE, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and the U.S. National Anthem. The nationally televised moment, which can be seen at home during FOX’s exclusive coverage beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET, also will feature nearly 60 living Negro Leagues players taking the field. This will be the largest formal gathering of Negro Leagues players in nearly 30 years.

Also planned for Thursday’s event, Golden Globe & Grammy-Award-winning American singer and songwriter Andra Day will perform her original song "Rise Up" during an iconic, in-game Stand Up To Cancer placard moment, where fans pause to honor someone important to them affected by cancer. The performance will take place at the end of the 5th inning and is the first time this has been done outside of the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard or the World Series.

Below are all pregame, performance and other ceremonial details for the events at Rickwood Field:

TUESDAY, JUNE 18THMiLB at Rickwood Field, A Tribute to the Negro Leagues

  • Lift Every Voice & Sing & U.S. National Anthem: The George Washington Carver HS Choir presented by the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Organization
  • Ceremonial First Pitch: Negro League Alumni and Birmingham’s own Joseph Marbury, Ferdinand Rutledge, Alphonse Holt & Clinton Forge
  • Play Ball!: Negro Leagues Alumni Willie Sellars
  • Special: Local Black-owned business spotlight, Alabama’s HBCU representatives, Birmingham Southern College Baseball Team
  • Public Address: Alan Roach


Major League Baseball and UNINTERRUPTED, present ‘BARNSTORM BIRMINGHAM,’ a Juneteenth celebration. The event includes an UNINTERRUPTED Fam Jam celebrity softball game featuring stars from entertainment, music and sports and a postgame performance by global music superstar Metro Boomin.

  • Lift Every Voice & Sing: HBCU Choir, consisting of students from Alabama A&M, Alabama State University, and Miles College
  • U.S. National Anthem: Grammy-nominated artist & Birmingham native Ruben Studdard
  • In-Stadium Band: Ramsay High School Marching Band
  • Pregame & In-game DJ: DJ Meel
  • In-Stadium Hosts: Ari Chambers and Andrew Hawkins
  • Postgame Show Performance: Metro Boomin

THURSDAY, JUNE 20THMLB at Rickwood Field, A Tribute to the Negro Leagues

  • Pregame Ceremony Musical Tribute: Jon Batiste, Brittney Spencer, Willie Jones & C.S. Armstrong
  • Stand Up To Cancer Placard Moment**: Andra Day**
  • Ceremonial First Pitch: Former Pitcher, Birmingham Black Baron & St. Louis Cardinals; Birmingham’s own Rev. Bill Greason
  • Public Address: Jeremiah Paprocki (Chicago Cubs PA Announcer)