Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performs at the 2010 New Yorker Festival (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for The New Yorker)

The Ma profile, along with those on Honorees Meryl Streep, Neil Diamond, Sonny Rollins and Barbara Cook, will be published Sunday in the Washington Post Arts section.

Kennicott offered Arts Post an outtake, a story about how Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates blames Ma for his well-publicized encounter with the Cambridge, Mass. police.

As Ma explained to Kennicott, Ma was profiled on Gates’s PBS series about genealogy and Gates went to China to do extensive research. The night he returned Gates was trying to get into his own house but someone called the police to check out what looked like a break-in. That became national news.


“He came back from China really sick and tired and he couldn’t get in his door, so that was from his China trip, from doing that research,” said Ma. The whole incident ended up with President Obama inviting Gates and the arresting police officer to the White House for a beer. “He blames me for his beer summit,” said Ma, who added they laugh about it now.

Through the research Ma learned about a connection to another celebrity. “I think probably the most amazing thing is that in the last 100 years Eva Longoria and I shared a common relative....I can’t wait to meet her. My relative, my cousin.”