Greetings! The entertainment world lost one of its brightest lights with the passing of Nick Ashford, of Hall of Famers Ashford & Simpson, the creative songwriting, production and performance team. Ashford died of throat cancer at the age of 69.
Ashford and Valerie Simpson were married since 1974. The duo wrote and produced all-time classics for Motown giants like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Diana Ross, “I’m Every Woman” for Chaka Khan and “Let’s Go Get Stoned for Ray Charles. Ashford & Simpson’s own songs also lit up the charts, including “Solid” and many more. They also owned the Sugar Bar here in New York City.
- Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Angela Bassett and Academy Award nominee Samuel L. Jackson star in the Broadway debut of “The Mountaintop,” Katori Hall’s Olivier Award-winning drama, directed by Tony Award nominee Kenny Leon (“Fences,” “A Raisin in the Sun”). Performances begin Sept. 22 with the official opening on Oct. 13. Featuring original music by Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and Tony Award nominee Branford Marsalis. At the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. 45th St. For tickets, visit Telecharge.com.
- “Mama, I Want to Sing: The Next Generation,” by Vy Higginsen, with original music by Wesley Naylor. 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.
- At the Big Yard Calypso Tent on Thurs., Sept. 1, it’s “Clash of the Islands” and on Sat., Sept. 3, it’s “Move the Chairs,” an all-night Soca party. Music by Swinging Stars, emceed by Tommy Joeseph. Outdoors at the Executive Lounge, 957 Utica Ave. between Snyder and Tilden avenues. To purchase tickets, visit DeckPromotions.com. For more information, call (917) 477-9926 or (347)-228-0822.
- SummerStage presents this season of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, starting Fri., Aug. 26 at 6:30 p.m. with a special panel discussion in partnership with the Harlem School of the Arts. The panel will feature NEA Jazz Master Jean “Toots” Thielemans, saxophonists Tia Fuller and Sam Newsome, Christopher Washburne, director of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance program at Columbia University, and festival co-founder Sam A. Turvey in a discussion exploring the enduring musical legacy of Parker and his influence on jazz today. At the Harlem School of the Arts, 645 St. Nicholas Ave. Seating is limited and is offered on a first come, first served basis. To RSVP, email RSVP@SummerStage.org or call (212) 360-1399.
- The City Parks Foundation presents Jagged Edge, Avant and Melanie Fiona, Sun., Aug. 28, 3-6 p.m. At the Central Park Mainstage, Rumsey Playfield at 830 Fifth Ave. For more information, call (212) 360-2777 or email email@example.com.
- La Boom presents George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Wed., Sept. 7, hosted by Dr. Bob Lee and Dahved “Caribbean Feva” Levy of WBLS-FM. Doors open at 7 p.m., showtime is at 10 p.m. At La Boom, 57th Street and Northern Boulevard in Woodside, Queens.
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.
- Pastor Donnie McClurkin’s “New York Call and Perfecting Music Conference,” a weekend of workshops, music and ministry, Thurs., Aug. 25 through Sat., Aug. 27. Featuring a free job and career fair on Thursday and dynamic workshops by music and ministry industry experts on Friday. Registration fee is required, but the Friday night service is free for all. At the Perfecting Faith Church, 311 N. Main St., Freeport, N.Y.
- On Saturday, the eighth annual “New York Call” event features a health and wellness pavilion, kids pavilion, dynamic speakers, special guest artists and other great fun for the entire family at Eisenhower Park’s Lakeside Theater, Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow, N.Y. Admission and parking are free. For more information, call (516) 279-3711 or visit perfectingmusic.com.
- CEMOTAP invites the community to a public forum, “The Review and Success of Future Plans Relating to the Millions March in Harlem for Justice,” Sat., Aug. 27 at 2 p.m. Special guest speakers include Sister Viola Plummer, Councilman Charles Barron, Min. Addul Hafeez Muhammed, Brother Bob Law, Dr. James Macintosh and attorney Roger Wareham. At the CEMOTAP Center, 135-05 Rockaway Blvd., South Ozone Park. For more information, call (718) 322-8454.
Harlem Week 2011 is still rolling on-here are some highlights:
- The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K run, “Remembering 9/11,” at 8 a.m., and the New York Family Health Walk in tribute to Japan, at 9:30 a.m., Sat., Aug. 27. Both begin at St. Nicholas Park at West 135th Street and St Nicholas Avenue. The run also features Monifa Maat singing the 9/11 tribute song, “Americans.” At the health walk, join “Hands Across the Sea” in a tribute to Japan. Learn more and register at www.nyrr.org.
- Amateur Night at the Apollo joins the Harlem Week festivities by featuring Harlem-based artists and offering half-price tickets to Harlem residents on Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m. Hosted by the “Gangster of Comedy,” Capone. For more information, go to www.apollotheatre.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, find Imhotep Gary Byrd on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at GBELIFE.