Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Oscar winning-actor Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta, raised some much needed dollars over the weekend for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. The museum opens on September 24 and includes a special ribbon cutting ceremony featuring President Barack Obama.

According to VARIETY, the Washington’s and their celebrity friends helped raise $17 million dollars towards the museum’s overall goal of $540 million dollars. Thank God, the Federal Government has already given $270 million dollars and the museum has raised $252 million dollars.

The list of invitees included music legend Quincy Jones, NBA icon Magic Johnson, global movie star Samuel L. Jackson and TV giant Shonda Rhimes, who donated a hefty $10 million dollars.  Entertainment was provided by R&B singer Goapele and guests dinned on braised short ribs, sea bass and cauliflower steaks.

“In this climate where so much money is being raised for the Presidency and The White House, it is incredible to have the support we received,’’ said Pauletta Washington, who opened the evening with “The Lord’s Prayer.” “It’s good knowing that even with so much going on, people are committed to making sure that this museum is successful.’’

Other notable past donors include George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson, Hank Aaron, former Secretary State Colin Powell, and media maven Oprah Winfrey, who is the museum’s largest individual donor and will also have a 355 seat theatre named after her.

The museum stands on a five acre-site on the National mall, near the Washington Monument and will feature such rarities as Harriett Tubman’s hymnal, Nat Turner’s bible, Emmett Till’s original coffin, Louis Armstrong’s trumpet and costumes from the original Broadway musical, “The Wiz.”

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