Greetings! Black Music Month 2014 is starting out with a bang, including a big night at the Tonys as James Monroe Igleheart walked away with Best Featured Actor for his role as the Genie in “Aladdin” and the supernova Audra McDonald won for Best Leading Actress in a Play for her work in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” becoming the first actress to win six Tony awards. The brilliant Kenny Leon won for Best Direction for “Raisin in the Sun,” which also won for Best Revival, in addition to Sophie Okenedo winning the Tony for Best Featured Actress for the same production.

Look for NY1’s Dean Meminger, who is running an ongoing series called “Soul’s Survivors,” profiling some of the greats of classic soul, including Martha Reeves of Motown fame, who was quoted as saying, “This is our 50th anniversary of ‘Dancing in the Street,’ and I am happy to celebrate it. Fifty, 50 years! It has been 50 wonderful years.”

Reeves said that “Dancing in the Street” was actually about having a good time, but it became an anthem for the civil rights and Black Power movements.

A funky good time!

On Thursday, June 19, join playwright Cesi Davidson for three short play readings honoring the “Godfather of Soul,” in addition to a trivia contest, dance-off and door prize for the best James Brown-inspired outfit. The fun goes down from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Countee Cullen Library Auditorium, 104 W. 136th St.

Admission is free. For more info, visit


“Holler If Ya Hear Me,” directed by Kenny Leon (“Fences,” “A Raisin in the Sun”), is a musical inspired by the late rapper Tupac Shakur’s music and lyrics. It officially opens June 19 at the Palace Theatre, one of Broadway’s largest venues. The cast will be led by performance artist, poet and musician Saul Williams. Performance previews began on May 29.

“After Midnight” celebrates Harlem’s golden age and the timeless songs of Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Harold Arlen, all woven around the prose of Langston Hughes. Fantasia is back by popular demand! The music is by select Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars. Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 W. Fourth St. For information, call 212-719-4099 or visit

The historic 2014 revival of “A Raisin in the Sun,” Lorraine Hansberry’s heart-wrenching family drama, stars Academy and Tony Award winner Denzel Washington and LaTanya Richardson. It is directed by Kenny Leon (“Fences”). It is currently in a limited run through June 15 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St., where it originally opened in 1959. To order tickets, call 800-901-4092 or visit

“Alive!” is a celebration of a generation in song, featuring a company of performers ages 55 and over. It was conceived and written by the first lady of WBLS, legendary producer Vy Higgensen, and Ken Wydro. It’s now playing in repertory at the Dempsey Theater in Harlem, 227 W. 127th St. For more information, call 212-280-1067 or visit

“Motown: The Musical,” with book by Berry Gordy Jr. and featuring 2013 Tony nominee Charl Brown, Brandon Dixon and Felicia Roswell, is now playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St., between Eighth Avenue and Broadway. For tickets, visit or

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” a tribute to jazz legend Billie Holiday, features 2014 and multi-Tony Award winner Audra McDonald channeling Holiday’s classic moods and melodies, now through Aug.10 at Circle in the Square Theater, 1633 Broadway. Call 212-239-6200 or visit for more information.

“Satchmo at the Waldorf” is the new play about Louis Armstrong, the man who invented jazz. It’s appropriate for audience members ages 14 and older due to strong language. It’s now playing at the Westside Theatre Upstairs, 407 W. 43rd St., between Ninth and 10th avenues. For more information, call 212-239-6200 or visit


A special night of praise with gospel great Kirk Franklin will take place at the BYCB Theatre at Westbury on Friday, June 13 at 8 p.m. Visit or for more information.

B.B. King Blues Club presents Lalah Hathaway and Ruben Studdard on Friday, June 13; Tevin Campbell on Saturday, June 14; Chrisette Michelle on Friday, June 27; and Oleta Adams on Saturday, June 28 Visit bbkings for more information.


Minutes after his announcement of his first New York City performances in over 10 years, Dave Chapelle and Live Nation sold out five consecutive shows featuring several musical guests with a full orchestra at Radio City Music Hall June 24-28.

The musical guests joining Chapelle include the Roots on Tuesday, June 24; Busta Rhymes, DJ Premier and Janelle Monae on Wednesday, June 25; and Erykah Badu on Thursday, June 26, with more to be announced. For tickets and information, visit or


The Ausar Auset Society hosts “Women’s Wellness Day” on Saturday, June 21 from 12-7 p.m. to honor and celebrate all women. Ausar Auset is located at 305 Remsen Ave., Brooklyn, NY. It will include workshops, healing dance, meditation sessions, music and more. Delicious vegetarian food will be available on location. Vending is available. For further information, call Taui at 718-469-3199 or visit

Pass the word and join our GBE family at “Thank You for Your Kindness,” our life celebration for GBE producer extraordinaire, the late J.D. Livingston, to be held on Saturday, June 28 from 1-5 p.m. at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building in Harlem. All are invited as we say a final farewell to a true brother, friend and warrior for our community. For more information, call 212-592-3279 and listen for announcements on our weekly broadcasts.

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 To contact us for bookings or to reach us about your event, email, find Imhotep Gary Byrd on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @GBELIFE or call 212-592-3279.