The dog days of August are here, but aren’t we all lucky little puppies? Whether here or there, there is so much going on. The Shakespearean Festival is taking place Aug. 10, with “Bold New Voices: Past, Present and Future.” Presented by Voza Rivers and New Heritage Theatre, MIST Harlem and Community Works, the performance takes place at MIST on 116th Street. Showtime is 7 p.m.
The Real Harlem Basketball Players Reunion was recently held at the Lincoln Projects basketball court, and it had to be what I would call the best “block party” of the summer. Friday evening began with a buffet that lined the wall of the court with tables and chairs set up for the ultimate dining experience, with a live performance by Soul Generation. This performance was followed by Saturday night’s live performance by perennial favorite Blue Magic, who sang all their hits while the entire audience sang along with them, followed by a live DJ. The adults did the Cupid Shuffle and every other line dance in between while the youngsters did the Whip, and they were good!
All of the courts around the community are gearing up for the various basketball tournaments, so if you want to see a good game, pick the court of your choice from 145th Street on down and enjoy.
The Boule kicked off the Sag Harbor August season with their yearly fundraiser. In a change of venues this year, the party was held at the Muses in Southampton. This venue was a big change from B’Smith’s, which, as you know, has new ownership and is no longer the B’Smith’s we use to know. The fundraiser featured an art show, tastefully curated by Sharon Simmons, whose Brooklyn gallery should open in the near future after undergoing a complete renovation. Aug. 10, there will be a gathering held in honor of Ambassador the Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook, who is planning to run for Congress. It is a nice step for someone who has traveled the world being of service for both the country and the Lord.
“Harlem in the Hamptons,” hosted by the Harlem Cultural Archives, invites everyone to join in as they honor the Mid-Manhattan Branch of the NAACP. The event begins at noon and will be held at the Eastville Community Historical Society, 139 Hampton St., Sag Harbor, N.Y., so there is plenty of time to hop on the Jitney and head east for a fun-filled day. There will be a DJ, beer tasting and so much more.
Daytime Emmy Award-winner Sherri Shepherd is coming to Madiba Harlem at MIST, 46 W. 116th St., Aug. 12 to help with the launch of Children of Promise NYC. Children of Promise is the first and only nonprofit center in New York City dedicated to children of incarcerated parents. Children of Promise operates a combined after-school program, summer day camp and a mental health clinic dedicated to serving 350 children annually of imprisoned parents.
According to Sharon Content, founder and president of Children of Promise, “Children of Promise can best provide children and families with the services and crucial supports they need by having a visible presence and safe space within their own community. Once we identified the New York City communities most impacted by parental incarceration, we knew Harlem needed to be the home for our second facility.” They are using the event to officially announce plans to expand operations beyond its current Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, location and open a second program facility in Harlem in early 2016.
Happy birthday to Abdul Shaheed, Mike Pies, Lori Diggs Ngay and her daughter LeAnna, Douglas Lewis and Claude Johnson.
While sitting on the boardwalk listening to the reggae beat drifting from one of the eateries at, where else, you guessed it, Jones Beach, I couldn’t help but overhear one of the conversations between a Latino couple in their mid-20s that went something like this. He stated, “I just don’t understand the police. Early the other morning, I was driving my car on my way to work when the police pulled me over. There was no conversation. He just asked for my license and registration. I gave it to him, he took it and went back to the patrol car. After what seemed like over 20 minutes, he returns and with no other conversation or explanation, the policeman says, ‘So, I guess you’re on your way to work.’ I replied, ‘Yes, I was,’ and then he told me I could go.
“Now I could see,” the young man continued, “if I was sneaking into someone’s house or something, but I was on my way to work. It is unfair how, just because you fit a certain profile, you are suspected by the police of having committed a crime. Look what happened in Ferguson.”
Being a very good listener, she replied, “Well, while some of the police are good at doing their job, others are out of control and over the top. You just have to know your rights and stand by them.” They both just sighed. Shortly thereafter, two middle-aged Caucasian men were walking by when I overheard one saying to the other, “With the increase deduction they take for Medicare, and we all know who that goes to, there is hardly anything left in my Social Security check.”
Jones Beach has a reputation for being a place where people gather from all walks of life and together enjoy a spectacular part of nature. While sitting there contemplating life, looking out to the horizon, I saw for maybe the first time that the horizon is not a straight line; it actually curves around the sphere of the Earth. At the far west end, to the right, is Coney Island. At the far east end, to the left is Montauk. Look at all that is in between.
Until next week … kisses.