Greetings! This has been a banner week for Black theater and several New York City Black theater companies are showcasing brilliant performances at this year’s National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF), running through this weekend in Winston-Salem, N.C. The NBTF is the only national Black theater festival in the country, offering six consecutive days of professional theater, film, poetry, workshops, seminars and shopping. Visit them online at www.nbtf.org.
“Mama, I Want to Sing: The Next Generation,” by Vy Higginsen, with original music by Wesley Naylor, directed by Ken Wydro. Now playing at the Dempsey Theater, 127 W. 127th St. between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Malcolm X boulevards. For more information and tickets, visit www.mamafoundation.org.
“Baby it’s You” follows the creation and rise of the independent record company that gave us the popular girl group the Shirelles, the Isley Brothers, Dionne Warwick, Chuck Jackson and more. At the Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th St. For more information, visit www.babyitsyouonbroadway.com.
“The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith.” Now running on Broadway at St. Luke’s Theater, 308 W. 46th St. For tickets, call (212) 239-6200 or visit www.stlukestheatre.com.
Whoopi Goldberg’s “Sister Act,” the stage musical based on the 1992 movie of the same name, features funky, soulful songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater and presents the dynamic debut of Patina Miller. At the Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway. For more information, visit www.sisteractbroadway.com.
FILM & ART
“Malcolm X: A Search for Truth” and “Romare Bearden: The Soul of Blackness-A Centennial Tribute” are on view now through Sat., Jan. 7 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X. Blvd.
Ailey II performs Alvin Ailey’s signature work, “Revelations,” one of the great masterpieces of American dance, at the Prospect Park bandshell in Brooklyn, Sat., Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. Free. For more information, visit www.bricartsmedia.org.
Janet Jackson is bringing her “Number Ones World Tour,” a fan-based show, to the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J., Sat., Aug. 6 at 9 p.m. Holmdel Township, Exit 116 off the Garden State Parkway. For more information, visit www.pncbankarts.centerholmdel.com
The Martin Luther King Jr. free concert series presents the “Men Of Soul”: Jeffrey Osbourne, Peabo Bryson and Freddie Jackson. Mon., Aug. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Wingate Field on Brooklyn Avenue between Rutland Road and Winthrop Street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Free. For more information, visit www.brooklynconcerts.com.
Coney Island’s Seaside Concerts Under the Stars series presents “The Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, in a free concert Thurs., Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. in a new venue near the Brooklyn Cyclones’ MCU Stadium at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue. The public is encouraged to bring their own chairs. A limited number of $5 rental chairs in a specially designated area are available on a first-come, first-served basis. No cameras, no audio or video recording, no alcohol, no pets, no bottles, no smoking. All persons and packages are subject to search prior to entry. For directions, visit www.mta.info or call (718) 330-1234. For other information, call the concert hotline, (718) 222-0600.
B.B. King’s presents the world beat Brooklyn funk of Mandrill, Thurs., Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. and Dub-Jamaican dancehall legend King Yellowman, Mon., Aug. 15. At B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill, 237 W. 42nd St. between Seventh and Eighth avenues. For more information, call (212) 997-4144 or visit www.bbkingblues.com.
Harlem Week 2011 is rollin’-here are some highlights:
The New York City Economic Development Seminar luncheon and expo, Thurs., Aug. 4.
The New York City Senior Citizens’ Elders Jubilee, Tues., Aug. 9.
Summer in the City and Uptown Saturday Nite, Sat., Aug. 20.
And there’s much more! For more Harlem Week information, call (877) 427-5364 toll free or visit www.harlemweek.com.
Amateur Night at the Apollo joins the Harlem Week festivities by featuring Harlem-based artists and offering half-price tickets to Harlem residents. Special performance by the cast of “Mama, I Want to Sing: The Next Generation,” Hosted by the “Gangster of Comedy,” Capone. Wed., Aug. 10 at the world famous Apollo Theater, 253 W. 125th St. For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org.
The Coalition for Public Education sponsors the “Parents Taking the Lead” institute, a weekly series of workshops for parents every Thursday in August. Seeking the participation of parent leaders whose children attend public schools in all areas of New York City. The workshops examine policies, school closings, budget cuts and inequities within public education at the DC 37 union hall on Murray Street and the West Side Highway in Manhattan. For further information, call (212) 362-6021 or (347) 785-3418.
“Millions March in Harlem,” Sat., Aug. 13, assembling on Malcolm X Boulevard at 110th Street at 10 a.m. The day’s focus is on the attack on African people on the continent and in the United States. Special guest speakers include Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam; Father Miguel d’Escoto, former president of the U.N. General Assembly and former foreign minister of Nicaragua; Dr. Molefi Asante of Afrocentricity International; Viola Plummer of the December 12th Movement; NOI Minister Akbar Muhammad; and many others. For more information, call (718) 398-1766 or (347) 737-3272 or email email@example.com.
The Code Foundation will host the third annual Children’s Festival on Sat., Aug. 13 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at St. Andrews Park Playground in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. The festival, whose theme this year is “Put the Guns Down…We Have a Nation to Build” will have a College Zone, Books For Fun tent, health screenings, financial services showcase, sports contests and more. Free back to school supplies will be given away, and the Hon. Rep. Ed Towns and State Sen. John Sampson will issue special awards. The park is located on Herkimer Street between Kingston and Brooklyn avenues. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hear Imhotep Gary Byrd on 107.5 WBLS-FM daily with “Imhotep’s On-Air Guide to Black Events” and “Express Yourself,” Sunday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m., and on WLIB-AM with “The GBE Mind Flight,” Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to midnight (simulcast on WLIB-AM/WBLS-FM from 7-8 p.m.). The full show can be heard on HD radio at WBLS-HD2. IGB is also heard on WBAI-FM 99.5 with the GBE 2.0 “Global Black Experience” and “Global Beat Experience,” Saturdays from 5 to 7 p.m. We are archived online with both shows at www.wbai.org. To reach us about your event, email email@example.com, find Imhotep Gary Byrd on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at GBELIFE.