Maze (138259)
Credit: Phil Bray photo

Greetings! We enter the month of May 2015, our “GBE African Liberation Month,” with the news of the rescue of another group of missing Nigerian girls from Boko Haram by the Nigerian military.

Here at home in New York City, the memorial service for Johnny Kemp will be held at St. Phillip’s Church, 204 W. 134th St., Monday, May 11 at 1 p.m. For information, call 212-862-4940 or email st.philipsharlem@yahoo.com.

We also note with heart-filled sadness the passing of R&B legend Ben E. King at the age of 76 due to natural causes. King’s performances with the Drifters and as a solo artist represent classic soul at its finest, from “There Goes My Baby” to “Spanish Harlem,” “Stand by Me” and “Supernatural Thing.”

THEATER

Smash Hits LLC presents America’s most beloved inspirational musical, Adrian Williamson’s “My Grandmother Prayed for Me!,” the off-Broadway hit at the Minetta Lane Theatre. Limited engagement. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com and adrianwilliamson.com.

“Baby Hold On to Me,” inspired by the music of Gerald Levert, starring Eddie Levert at Newark Symphony Hall, Friday and Saturday, May 29 and May 30 at 7 p.m., 1030 Broad St., Newark, N.J. For information, call 973-643-8014 or visit ticketmaster.com.

“Motown: The Musical,” with book by Berry Gordy Jr., 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.

“Kinky Boots,” featuring 2013 Tony Award winner Billy Porter, is at the Al Hirschfield Theatre, 302 W. 45th St. Visit broadway.com/ shows/kinky-boots.

“Aladdin,” featuring James Monroe Iglehart, the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Featured Actor, as the uniquely modern genie, is now playing at the New Amsterdam Theatre, 214 W. 42nd St. Visit broadway.com/shows/aladdin-broadway.

MUSIC

An evening with Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds at Bergen Performing Arts Center, 30 N. Van Brunt St., Englewood, N.J., Thursday, May 7. For information, visit www.ticketmaster.com or call 201-227-1030.

The Whispers and Stephanie Mills appear at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, Friday, May 8 at 8 p.m. 960 Brush Hollow Road, Westbury, N.Y. For information, call 516-247-5200.

B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W. 42nd St., presents Kool and the Gang, Thursday, May 14 at 8 p.m. For information, call 212-997-4144 or visit bbkingblues.com.

The mighty O’Jays appear Saturday, May 9 at 9 p.m. at Kings Theatre, 1027 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. For ticket information, visit ticketmaster.com or email boxoffice@kingstheatre.com.

McDonald’s Gospelfest 2015 “When the Choir Meets the Quarter,” featuring Hezekiah Walker and the Blind Boys of Alabama, Saturday, May 9 at 3 p.m. Doors open at 2 p.m. The Prudential Center, 25 Lafayette St., Newark, N.J. For ticket information, call 800-745-3000 or 866-448-7649 or visit ticketmaster.com.

Two legendary R&B acts, the Whispers and the Temptations Review with Dennis Edwards, come together Sunday, May 10 for a Mother’s Day to remember at Newark Symphony Hall at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at marqueeconcerts.com.

Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and Toni Braxton and El DeBarge, Sunday, May 10 at 7 p.m. Prudential Center, 25 Lafayette St., Newark, N.J. For information, call 973-757-6000 or visit www.prucenter.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

Kool and the Gang appear Saturday, May 16 at Resorts Atlantic City, Atlantic City, N.J. For ticket information, visit www.ticketmaster.com.

Earth, Wind and Fire appear at Mohegan Sun Arena, One Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville, Conn., Thursday, May 21 at 8 p.m. For information, visit ticketmaster.com or call 800-515-2171.

DANCE

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 10 (Mother’s Day) at 3 p.m. For information, visit njpac.org or ticketmaster.com or call 800-GO-NJPAC, One Center St., Newark, N.J.

FAMILY

The UniverSoul Circus is back. For tickets and the full schedule of New York City locations, visit ticketmaster.com.

COMMUNITY

The Men’s Ministry of Brooklyn’s Historic First Church of God in Christ will present the third annual Mary McLeod Bethune Light of Our Life Award, created by the Central Brooklyn Leadership Council and the First Church Men’s Ministry to honor the extraordinary women in both the church and community. The banquet, held Sunday, May 10 at 2 p.m., will feature music by contemporary gospel saxophonist Craig Crawford and poetry by local talent Octavia Jackson, will be held in Bishops Banquet Hall at the First Church of God in Christ, 221 Kingston Ave., Brooklyn N.Y.

Urban Arts Festival’s “Pack the Palace” celebrates the academic and artistic achievements of New York City youth, presented by the Urban Arts partnership and co-hosted by School District 6, Wednesday, May 13, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at United Palace, 4140 Broadway in New York City. For information, visit packthepalace.splashthat.com to reserve your seat. Open to the public.

“Women and Youth: Driving Development in Southern Africa,” moderated by award-winning journalist Michaela Angela Davis with speakers Graca Machel, former first lady of South Africa and Mozambique; Danny Glover, actor and human rights activist; Jo Menell, Oscar-nominated filmmaker; and Donna Katzin, founder of Shared Interest, Thursday, May 15 at 11 a.m. to noon, at Madiba Harlem at MIST, 46 W. 116th St. The event is free to the public.

BEPAA Master Leadership Class “What Can Today’s Black Leaders Learn

from the Leadership of Brother Malcolm X?” features speakers educator Brother William Sales and activist and scholar Ilyasah Shabazz, author and daughter of Malcolm X, at Dr. John Henrik Clarke House, 286 Convent Ave. in Harlem, Sunday, May 17 at 3 p.m. Call 347-907-0629 to RSVP.

Hear Imhotep Gary Byrd on 107.5 WBLS-FM weekly with “Express Yourself,” Sunday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. and simulcast over WLIB 1190A.M. The full show can also be heard on HD radio at WBLS-HD2 and at WBLS.com.WLIB.com and iHeartRadio. IGB is also heard on WBAI-FM 99.5 with Radio GBE: “The Global Black Experience” and “The Global Beat Experience,” Fridays 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Both shows are archived online at www.wbai.org. To contact us for bookings or to reach us about your event or for comments, email igbexp@gmail.com, find us at Imhotep Gary Byrd on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @GBELIFE or call 212-592-3279.