You know the saying, “April showers bring May flowers.” Well, I don’t know about the shower part, but May is definitely “blooming” with an abundance of insightful, delightful, creative, fun and fascinating events. So get on out there and enjoy!
Through May 3
“Funky Turns 40: Black Character Animation Art From Black Cartoons of the 1970s” (Seattle, Wash.)
Images from among the few Black-cast, Black-focused animated features, original production cells and drawings and other items form the traveling exhibit “Funky Turns 40: Black Character Animation Art From Black Cartoons of the 1970s.” The exhibit is significant in that it celebrates the 40th anniversary of the groundbreaking Saturday morning cartoons that, for the first time in television history, featured positive Black characters—a stark about-face to the hundreds of cartoons that maligned, objectified and horribly stereotyped Blacks from 1900 to 1960. 206-518-6000, www.naamnw.org
Through May 15
“Kingdom of Gold: Photographs of Ghana” (Houston, Texas)
“Kingdom of Gold: Photographs of Ghana” is a vivid photography exhibit that documents the colorful celebration of the entailment of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as king of the Ashanti Kingdom, as well as other historic places in several coastal towns in Ghana that hold great significance around the history of slavery.
Through May 15
“To Jack Bradley, the ‘Greatest’ Photo Taker: Treasures from the Jack Bradley Collection” (Queens, N.Y.)
The results of a very unusual friendship between photographer Jack Bradley, and world-renowned musician and jazz icon Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, are now part of the new exhibit, “To Jack Bradley, the ‘Greatest’ Photo Taker: Treasures from the Jack Bradley Collection.” In it, visitors to the Louis Armstrong House Museum will see, on exhibit for the very first time, over 2,500 sound recordings, fan mail, set lists, diet charts, handwritten notes, laundry receipts, rare books, figurines, posters and other artifacts collected by Bradley during the time that he and Armstrong spent together on stage, back stage, on the road and at home over the years. 718-478-8274, www.louisarmstronghouse.org
Through May 24
As arguably the most soulful circus on the planet, the UniverSoul Circus presents an entertaining, family-friendly show produced, directed and managed by primarily people of color. Its entertainers are world-class acts from around the globe, including clowns, aerialists, Caribbean and hip-hop dancers, magicians, contortionists, wild animal tamers, daredevils and more.
April 28–May 10 Queens, N.Y.
May 19-24 Newark, N.J.
May 14 to 17
Harlem EatUp! Festival (Harlem, N.Y.)
Making its debut this year and sure to become an annual favorite is the Harlem EatUp! Festival. Designed to celebrate “the food, culture and spirit of Harlem” through entertainment, the arts and food, the three-day festival will encompass a wealth of activities, including gospel music from Mama Foundation for the Arts; “Harlem Talks” featuring celebrated tastemakers and leaders discussing relevant topics ranging from food and culture to business and the arts; a Kids’ Zone offering interactive activities for all ages; a wide array of culinary booths offering the tastiest that Harlem has to offer; a “Sunday Afternoon in Harlem” beverage sampling tent; and “Dine In Harlem,” which will pair select local Harlem chefs and restaurants with national chefs who have personal ties to the borough. Net proceeds from ticket sales for the festival will be donated to Harlem Park to Park and Citymeals-on-Wheels.
May 16 to 17
2015 Pan African Festival of Georgia (Macon, Ga.)
African music and dance, Caribbean and Soul Food, an International Children’s Village, local artisans and an Interfaith Unity Service are just the beginning of the fun offered at the 2015 Pan African Festival of Georgia. Held in downtown Macon just an hour north of Atlanta, the festival was founded in 1996. In addition to becoming one of the signature events of the Tubman African-American Museum, it also draws throngs of celebrants from the Southwest region, making it one of the most popular middle Georgia events each year.
May 22 to 24
35th annual Atlanta Jazz Festival (Atlanta, Ga.)
Regarded as one of the finest, largest free jazz festivals in the country, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, which grew from a weekend-long festival into a monthlong celebration, is an Atlanta area favorite. The festival is the crowning event of a month of jazz celebration. Each year, the festival features numerous local, regional and international jazz artists. This year, the lineup includes the Otis Brown III, Alfredo Rodriguez Trio, Marcus Strickland Twi-Life, Derrick Hodge, Wolfpack ATL, Diane Schuur, Four Women: A Tribute to Nina Simone featuring Kathleen Bertrand, Julie Dexter, Rhonda Thomas and Terry Harper, and Joe Gransden and His Big Band, just to name a few.
May 23 to 31
Barbados Gospelfest (Barbados, West Indies)
For almost 25 years, the Barbados Gospelfest has featured some of the best local, regional and international gospel artists ,whose incredible talents combined to celebrate the inspired music and cultures of Barbados, the Caribbean and the international community. This year’s theme is “Touching Lives Changing Nations.” The celebration will include activities such as a Thanksgiving Service, Hymn Speak, a concert featuring songwriter, musician, producer, recording artist and worship leader Israel Houghton, a Legacy Lecture, Artistes Development Workshop and other praise-filled activities.
Lysa Allman Baldwin is a freelance writer and the publisher and editor of Amazing Escapades, featuring “adventures for the mind, bod and belly” (www.amazingescapades.com).