Harlem readies for 49th Annual African American Day Parade

Ann Tripp.

The most acclaimed Black village in America will be the center of attraction when the African American Day Parade makes its way along Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. on Sept. 16.

Harlem is ready to parade pride, culture, achievement and excellence for the 49th time.

For starters, the Mighty Marching Panthers from Georgia’s Clark Atlanta University will kick-off the parade at 1 pm. at 111th St.

Followed by marching bands and steppers representing fraternities and sororities many will showcase the dexterity and skill of talented students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

“Culture is Key” is the theme of this year’s procession.

“I am proud to return the Grandassa Models to spectators who may not have seen these trailblazing beautiful, Black women for many many, years,” Ann Tripp, a former model with the beautiful Black women said.

“The Grandassa models were a group of African American female models whose Afro-centric fashion shows were the first to promote the slogan “Black is Beautiful,” a blogger at pancocojams.com said.

“Based in New York City, the Grandassa models’ fashion shows were held in various cities in the United States from 1962 to 1979.”

Tripp who with the pioneers displayed beauty, charm and grace wearing “natural” unprocessed hairstyles, unbleached skin and commanded runway attention at a time it was unpopular in America said Nomsa Brath, widow of founder Elombe Brath will join her on the parade route.

The WBLS-FM news director is one of the celebrated media honorees who in addition to honoring the models will also wear a sash as one of the Grand Marshalls.

Other honorary Marshalls include DJ Red Alert, Ilyassah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz, Tom Joyner, radio personality, Doug E. Fresh, rapper acclaimed to being ‘the human beat box,” Cheryl Wills, NY1 news anchor, Arthur Mitchell, founder of the Dance Theater of Harlem and others distinguished for excellence in fashion, theater, film, literature and sports.

“We will be honoring individuals and organizations that have made key contributions to furthering the dignity, determination, and excellence of the African American community.”

Felicia Temple, a singer, producer, songwriter who was featured on the “The Voice” TV reality show will begin the parade by singing “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” – The national Negro anthem at the reviewing stand at 125th St.

Cadres of NYPD officers, firefighters, nurses, teachers, political figures, beauty queens, and a diverse representation of African-American cultures will be represented. Traditionally the Caribbean community has been represented by masqueraders, steel bands, reggae deejays — with a large contingent of Panamanians wearing polleras, their national costume.

The parade will be broadcast live on 103.9-FM and WBLS-FM will provide live updates throughout the procession with announcers introducing guests and participants.

The reviewing stand is located in front of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building where an imposing statue of the former Harlem congressman memorializes his Excelsior mantra to aim high.

At that location VIP seating will be available to senior citizens.

The parade is slated to end at 136th St. at 6 pm.

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