Luminary presents “The Midnight Miracle,” a modern take on the variety show standard. Recorded in the summer of 2020, hosts Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey, and Dave Chappelle join friends in their version of summer camp in Ohio. The show was recorded in a converted studio space at Dave’s home.
The hosts break out into sketches, share musings on life, and play music tracks. They also tell stories, discuss society and culture, and love to perform impersonations.
On the “How to Inspire (Side A)” episode, the hosts speak about paying tribute to lives lost. They ponder if anything could have possibly kept them around and ask, “How do you keep a despondent person alive?” They say, “Do something beautiful for them when you can,” and be kind because “we’re all walking in the same direction.” They agree one has to really be inspired within themselves to move forward and make any changes in their life. It becomes tricky when other factors and obstacles, besides motivation or lack of it, are in the picture.
Talib spoke about his friendship with the late and great Amy Winehouse. They treasured the time they made for each other when Talib was in Europe. When he visited Amy in the UK at a party, they spoke about the drug use she was wrapped up in. Amy said speaking with him was a nice change of pace since many of her friends’ conversations in her circle centered on drugs. The group of hosts acknowledge how legendary Amy’s work was. The segment features Amy’s song, “Love is a Losing Game.”
Talib remarks how self-conscious Amy was, but they fostered a friendship and talked about everything. One of the last few times Talib saw Amy, Nas was in town. On this visit, he was amazed to see how elated Amy was. She was also a tad starstruck by Nas because she adored his work tremendously.
This episode also honors actor Robin Williams and The Roots’ Malik B. with sound bites and music clips. All three hosts are huge fans. The Roots’ song, “100% Dundee,” is played in tribute. They definitely still feel the grief of these lives lost.
Other music featured in the episodes are by Nina Simone, Ryland Blackinton, the Wiener Philharmoniker, and more. Special appearances this season are by Questlove, Donnell Rawlings, Jon Stewart, and Jarobi White, amongst an impressive lineup of guests.
The show also debuts music from Talib and Yasiin’s music collaboration, Black Star. Up until now, fans thought this project was shelved, since it went to radio silence after its original announcement in 2018.