Greetings! As we move into our GBE Black History/African Heritage Month with the extra cold winter season, the 2014 Grammy Awards turned up the heat this past weekend in a star-studded broadcast that featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams and many more.
The National Black Touring Circuit’s 2014 Black History Month Play Festival will host poetic, musical and theatrical performances in Harlem that will celebrate acclaimed poet Amiri Baraka, legendary singer Billie Holiday, the Great Divas of Gospel and Ossie Davis’ renowned play “The People of Clarendon County” from Feb. 7 to March 2.
“Dr. Du Bois and Miss Ovington,” written by Clare Coss and presented by the New Federal Theatre in association with the Castillo Theatre, is playing now through Feb.16, Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays-Sundays at 2 p.m. The Castillo Theatre is located at 543 W. 42 St. For more information, call 212-941-1234 or visit www.castillo.org.
“The Kitchen,” a thrilling drama presented by the H.A.D.L.E.Y. Players in association with Voza Rivers’ New Heritage Theatre Group, is now playing at the Poet’s Den, 309 E. 108th St. in East Harlem. For more information and tickets, call 646-502-6562 or visit hadleyplayers.org.
“Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds,” a jammin’ musical featuring the timeless music and lyrics of Marley and based on the children’s book by his daughter Cedella, will be running from Feb.7-Feb. 23 at the New Victory Theater, located at 229 W. 42nd St. For tickets and information, visit newvictory.org.
“Motown: The Musical,” with book by Berry Gordy Jr. and featuring Felicia Boswell 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.
“After Midnight” celebrates the glamour and exuberance of Harlem’s Golden Age, with the timeless songs of Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Harold Arlen woven around the prose of Langston Hughes. The production stars Grammy Award winner Fantasia and Emmy Award nominee Dulé Hill (“The West Wing”). The music was selected by the Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars.
“Platanos, Collard Greens & Callaloo”—that’s right, “Callaloo!” This remix brings Caribbean flava in the house. Now playing at Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Ave. (enter on 25th Street between Lexington and Third avenues). For tickets, call TheaterMania at 212-352-3101, visit theatermania.com or visit plantanosandcollardgreens.com.
“Friday Night in Harlem,” an event saluting gospel and swing jazz, will take place at the Apollo Theater on Friday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.The event will also celebrate the 2014 N.Y./N.J. Super Bowl and Black History Month and will pay tribute to jazz legend Duke Ellington with featured performances by the Manhattan School of Music Swing Jazz Orchestra and jazz masters Cecil Bridgewater and Arturo O’ Farrill.
The tribute will also feature award-winning vocalist Regina Belle, Lalah Hathaway and an all-star band that will include the brilliant jazz musicians Alex Bugnon, Victor Bailey and Lenny White. The Whitney Houston Award will be presented to legend Valerie Simpson, who will be joined onstage by Harlem’s First Corinthian Baptist Church Mass Choir. For tickets and information, call 800-745-3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Lauryn Hill brings her multiplatinum eclectic soul to the Capitol Theatre, 149 Westchester Ave., Port Chester, N.Y., on Friday, Jan. 31. For tickets, call 914-937-4126 or visit www.thecapitoltheatre.com.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture announces its first exhibition of 2014, “Motown: The Truth is a Hit.” Featuring items highlighting Motown’s inimitable founder, Berry Gordy, and the institution’s beloved musical acts, the multimedia showcase chronicles one of the most significant record labels in American music history. It will be on display from Saturday, Feb. 1 to July 26 at the Schomburg Center, 515 Malcolm X Blvd. at 135th Street.
The world-famous Apollo Theater is hosting a series of artistic and community programs to celebrate Black History Month. The Apollo’s 2014 Black History Month includes the return of the 1930s/1940s nightclub–style show “Apollo Club Harlem”; a free open house weekend in celebration of Apollo’s 80th anniversary with a concert featuring the incomparable pastor Shirley Caesar; the return of the popular independent emerging artist concert series “Apollo Music Café”; and the Apollo “Live Wire” discussion series “Black Style on Stage.” For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org.
A tribute to the late Amiri Baraka, the legendary author, poet, playwright and scholar, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd., 7:30 p.m. The tribute will feature words and music by Ted Wilson, Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Quincy Troupe, Blu Ark, Bill Harris, Umar Bin Hassan, Craig Harris, Dwight Trible and others. For more information, call 212-279-4200 or visit www.nationalblacktouringcircuit.org.
Join legendary radio personality and filmmaker Bob Law and myself, Imhotep Gary Byrd, the radio griot, on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. for a special Black History Month forum, “Saying It Loud: Understanding the Historical Legacy of Black Radio,” at the Historic First Church of God in Christ, 221 Kingston Ave., Brooklyn. Admission is free. Goodwill offerings will benefit the Mary McLeod Bethune Mother’s Day Tribute.
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 email@example.com, find Imhotep Gary Byrd on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @GBELIFE or call 212-592-3279.