Greetings! GBE Black Arts Month 2019 announces “The Color Purple” Tony winner Cynthia Erivo will play the late music icon Aretha Franklin in Nat Geo’s anthology series “Genius: Aretha,” which will begin filming in November. The series from Imagine Television and Fox 21 TV Studios comes after Genius’ productions on Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso and will premiere in spring 2020 on National Geographic channels in 172 countries. The limited series will feature performances of Franklin hits by both the late artist and Erivo.

Another Franklin project directed by Tony nominee and Obie award winner, South African, Liesl Tommy, premieres Aug. 14, 2020. The biopic, “Respect” stars personal choice of the Queen of Soul, Oscar winner, Jennifer Hudson, who also appeared in “The Color Purple” with Erivo. Erivo also stars as iconic freedom liberator Harriet Tubman in movie theatres, November 2019.

THEATER

“For Colored Girls Who Have Committed Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf” Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking work in American theatre returns to the Public Theater for the first time since its 1976 pre Broadway smash run. The late legendary playwright/poet Ntozake Shange tells the brilliant stories of seven women of color using poetry, song, and movement. With unflinching honesty and humor, each woman voices her survival story in a world shaped by sexism and racism. Directed by Leah C Gardener; choreographed by Camille A Brown. Running now through Nov 17 at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St (at Astor Place), Manhattan. For more information, call 212-967.7555 or visit: www.publictheater.org

“Porgy & Bess,” one of America’s favorite operas, returns to the Met for the first time in nearly 30 years. James Robinson’s stylish production, which premiered in London in 2018, transports audiences to Catfish Row on the Charleston waterfront, with the vibrant music, dancing, emotion, and heartbreak of its inhabitants. Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center, for more information, visit: www.metopera.org/season/tickets/

“To Kill A Mockingbird” the classic Pulitzer book by Harper Lee which became a classic movie, now onstage at the Shubert Theatre, 225 West 44th St, Manhattan. For ticket information, visit: Ticketmaster.com

“Hadestown—Where a Song Can Change Your Fate” from the pen of Anaïs Mitchell, winner 8 Tony Awards, Tony winner Andre De Shields, Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 West 48th St., Manhattan. For more information, visit: walterkerrtheatre.com

“The Lion King.” Minskoff Theatre, 200 W. 45th St., Manhattan. For more information, visit: minskofftheatre.box-officetickets.com

“Kinky Boots the Musical.” Al Hirschfield Theatre, 302 W. 45th St, Manhattan. For ticket information, visit: www.kinkybootsthemsuical.com

“Ain’t Too Proud” celebrates The Temptations’ extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, written by three-time Obie Award winner Dominique Morisseau. The Imperial Theatre, 249 West 45th Street, Manhattan. For more information, call 844-379-0370 or visit: www.secureboxoffice.com

MUSIC

Don’t miss an electrifying evening of Classic Motown with smooth-stepping moves and elegant harmonies from two of the music’s most legendary super groups, The Temptations and The Four Tops on Oct.12 at NJPAC, 1 Center St., Newark, 07102 NJ. For more information, visit www.NJPAC.org

Ladies Night Out with live performances by Ginuwine & Donell Jones alongside Funk Flex hosted by Fred “Bugsy” Bugs Fri., Oct. 18. Happening at the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem NYC. For tickets call Ticketmaster or visit the Apollo box office, doors open 7 pm show time 8 pm!

Don’t miss Fantasia, Tank and Robin Thicke, Oct. 25 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater at. For tickets, visit the Garden box office or Ticketmaster.com 

Catch the one and only Chaka Khan live at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Nov.14. For tickets visit the NJPAC box office or Ticketmaster.com

COMEDY

Atlantic City Comedy Festival is celebrating its 10th year! Don’t miss Mike Epps, Bruce Bruce, Sommore, Lavelle Crawford, DC Youngfly, Karlous Miller, Kountry Wayne, George Wallace, Mark Curry, Tommy Davidson and TuRae. Tickets on sale now at AccomedyFestival.com.

TV/FILM

The 57th New York Film Festival running now through Oct 13. This year’s lineup traverses 17 different countries. Various screening venues. For more information, call 212-875-5232. Visit: filmlinc.orgvisit us 

“Godfather of Harlem” re-imagines the story of infamous crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker), who in the early 1960s returned from a decade in prison to find the neighborhood he once ruled in shambles. Original series on Epix. Check listings

“Hitsville: The Making of Motown” a new documentary featuring Motown co founders-legends, Berry Gordy and Smoky Robinson with Motown greats and vintage footage. Check Showtime listings. Visit: www.sho.com/titles/ 3470002/hitsville- the-making-of-motown

COMMUNITY

Please Remember Bahamas Relief: Support the struggle of brothers, sisters and families who were Hurricane Dorian victims and survivors in the Bahamas. Donate and visit the Bahamas. Many of the islands are vacation accessible. Call: 800-224-2627 or visit: www.bahamas.com/relief

The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation announces three days of celebration Oct. 16, 17 & 18 in honor of the organization’s 50th anniversary, including the Annual Louis Armstrong Continuum Symposium, concert: “Art Blakey and Louis Armstrong: Jazz Messengers Forever” and the Annual Satchmo Award, to jazz pianist, organist, composer, and arranger Dick Hyman with a special Lifetime Achievement Award to the LAEF board president and NEA Jazz Master Stanley Crouch. Presentations at multiple venues. For more information, visit: www.louisarmstrongfoundation.org

A CEMOTAP special forum Sun.Oct.13 at 2 p.m. “Putting the principles of the Honorable Marcus Garvey into practice in the 21st century.” The Keynote Speaker is Dr. Molefi Asante founder of the Temple University PhD program in African American Studies, also Brother Raymond Dugue, high chancellor of U.N.I.A. the organization of the Honorable Marcus Garvey and Sister Betty Dopson, co-founder of CEMOTAP. Admission is free but a free will offering will be taken. All proceeds will go to the Peace Health Center founded by Dr. Shadidi B. Kinsey. For further information or to R.S.V.P., call: 347-907-0629.

Listen to Imhotep Gary Byrd’s “Express Yourself,” Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on WBLS-FM and simulcast over WLIB 1190AM. The full show can also be heard on HD radio at WBLS-HD2 and at WBLS.com, WLIB.com. IGB’s “Radio GBE” is heard Fridays 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Archived online at www.wbai.org. For bookings or to reach us about your GBEvent or for comments, email co-editor Nyerere, nyerere1@aol.com, find us at Imhotep Gary Byrd on Facebook or call 212-592-3279.