Greetings! The African Group of Ambassadors to the United Nations unanimously voted on Friday, Dec. 13 to rename the Conference Hall at the African Union Observer Mission to the United Nations’ “Mandela Hall.” The naming celebration honoring the life and legacy of the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is a last respect to the memory of an illustrious son of Africa and globally renowned, iconic leader.
This week is the world premiere of Ishmael Reed’s “The Final Version,” which sheds clarity on the African-American community and communism. It’s directed by and starring Rome Neal and will be running at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (236 E. Third St.) now into 2014. For information, call 212-780-9386 or visit nuyorican.org.
“A Season in the Congo,” written by brilliant Martinican poet and playwright Aimé Césaire, is now playing in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Césaire’s birth. It will play Dec. 19-21 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 22 at 2:30 p.m. at La MaMa’s First Floor Theatre, 74 E. Fourth St., Suite A. For tickets, call 212-475-7710 or visit LaMaMa.org.
“After Midnight,” a new musical celebrating the glamour and exuberance of Harlem’s Golden Age and featuring the timeless songs of Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Harold Arlen woven around the prose of Langston Hughes, is now playing. The production stars Grammy Award winner Fantasia and Emmy Award nominee Dulé Hill. The music is by select Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars, handpicked by multi-Grammy winner Wynton Marsalis. It’s now playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 W. 47th St. (between Broadway and Eighth Avenue). For more information, call 817-502-2929 or visit aftermidnightbroadway.com.
“Motown: The Musical,” with book by Berry Gordy Jr. and featuring 2013 Tony nominee Valisia LeKae as Diana Ross, Tony nominee Charl Brown as Smokey Robinson and Brandon Dixon as Berry Gordy, is now playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St. (between Eighth Avenue and Broadway). For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com or motownthemusical.com.
“A Time to Kill” is now playing through Dec. 31 at the John Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues. For tickets and information, call 212-239-6200 or visitatimetokillonbroadway.com.
“Platanos, Collard Greens & Callaloo”—that’s right, “callaloo!” This hilarious remix of the successful franchise brings the West Indian brethren in. It’s now playing at Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Ave. (enter on 25th Street, between Lexington and Third avenues). Call TheaterMania at 212-352-3101, visit theatermania.com or visit plantanosandcollardgreens.com.
“Lady Day: The Billie Holiday Musical,” featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater and written and directed by Stephen Stahl, is now playing at the Little Shubert Theatre, 422 W. 42nd St. between Ninth and 10th avenues. For tickets, call 212-239-6200 or visit Telecharge.com or ladydaythemusical.com.
The Blue Note Jazz Club (131 W. Third St.) presents Chris Botti’s annual holiday residency on Dec. 16-Dec. 31. Shows are at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. For more information, call 212-475-8592 or go to bluenotejazz.com.
Legendary R&B soul pioneer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Womack appears at the City Winery (155 Varick St.) Friday, Dec. 20 through Sunday, Dec. 22. For more information, call 212-608-0555 or visit citywinery.com/newyork.
Three-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Jill Scott takes the stage at Radio City Music Hall on New Year’s Eve at 9 p.m. with special guests Luke James and DJ Premier. Legendary icon “Soul Sister” Aretha Franklin appears at Radio City Music Hall on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, and Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. Visit radiocity.musichall-ny.com.
The Apollo’s holiday season includes “Ellington at Christmas,” celebrating the legacy of Apollo legend Duke Ellington and featuring Savion Glover, actor Keith David as the narrator and jazz vocalist Lizz Wright. There will also be “Amateur Night” finals, with $10,000 winners. Join the theater for its seventh annual Kwanzaa celebration, “Regeneration Night,” hosted by yours truly on Dec. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Visit apollotheater.org.
“Mother Africa” (featuring Circus Der Sinne from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) is playing now through Jan. 5, 2014, at the New Victory Theater, 209 W. 42nd St. Visit newvictory.org for more information.
The Big Apple Circus welcomes you to its all-new show, “Luminosity!” now through Jan. 12 at Lincoln Center! Visit bigapplecircus.org for more information.
“A Very Awesome Yo Gabba Gabba Live! Holiday Show” comes to the Beacon Theatre (2124 Broadway at West 74th Street) Friday, Dec. 20 through Sunday, Dec. 22.
“Long Walk to Freedom” features Idris Elba in the new Nelson Mandela biopic. The film opens Christmas Day but is now appearing at select theaters in New York City.
“Black Nativity” is a film about forgiveness, hope and family that features Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson and Jacob Latimore. It also features Nasir “Nas” Jones, Tyrese Gibson, Mary J. Blige and Vondie Curis-Hall. Check your local listings.
“12 Years a Slave,” featuring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, was recently nominated for Best Motion Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor awards for the Golden Globes. Check your local listings.
There will be a “Town Hall Meeting on Public Safety” at the Brooklyn Christian Center (1061 Atlantic Ave., between Franklin and Classon avenues, Brooklyn) on Thursday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and his appointee for police commissioner, Bill Bratton, will answer questions posed by the Black press. For more information, call the Freedom Party office at 917-947-8994 or 917-947-8995.
The National Association of Kawaida Organizations and the International African Arts Festival present the 47th anniversary celebration of Kwanzaa. Dr. Maulana Karenga, the creator of Kwanzaa, will deliver his yearly founder’s statement, titled “Celebrating and Living Kwanzaa: Sowing and Harvesting Seeds of Good.” There will be artistic performances by KowTeff African Dance and Drum Troupe and the Donald Smith Trio. On Friday, Dec. 27, the celebration of the second principle of the Nguzo Saba, Kujichagulia (self-determination), takes place from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Stephen Decatur Middle School, 272 Macdonough St., between Lewis Street and Marcus Garvey Boulevard. For pre-registration and information about admission, call 718-789-3264. For vending registration and information, call 718-479-4186.
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 7 to 9 p.m., and on WLIB-AM with “The GBE Mind Flight,” Sunday evenings from 9 p.m. to midnight. The full show can be heard on HD radio at WBLS-HD2. IGB is also heard on WBAI-FM 99.5 with Radio GBE: The “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 contact us for bookings or to reach us about your event, email firstname.lastname@example.org, find Imhotep Gary Byrd on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @GBELIFE or call 212-592-3279.