‘Harlem Week’ will salute greats

In this Oct. 23, 2000, file photo, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, left, jokes with boxing great Muhammad Ali during a photo session with U.N. Messengers of Peace at the United Nations.
Associated Press / Shawn Baldwin, File

Muhammad Ali, Prince and Maurice White, are among the celebrated achievers slated for a series of tributes marking the 2016 “Harlem Week” festivities.

The three iconic talents will be regaled on separate dates with activities befitting their individual legacies during day-long activities slated at numerous Harlem locations.

Ali who died June 3, 2016 will be remembered with a Children’s festival themed for Back To School at a schoolyard location at 135th St. & Malcolm X Blvd.

Prince passed on April 21, 2016 and his day will feature a musicfest and Soul Train tribute at Marcus Garvey Park on Aug. 1.

White, co-founder of the rhythm and blues group Earth, Wind & Fire died on Feb. 3, 2016.

His legacy will be recalled with an r&b, jazz, hip-hop, blues, reggae and dance tribute on Aug. 21 at 135th St. & St. Nicholas Ave. where a stage will feature a variety of popular music.

Also slated for distinctive recognition is blues singer Nina Simone who died at age 52 in France on April 21, 2003.

“Uptown Saturday Night” will highlight the tribute to the singer acclaimed as the High Priestess of Soul. Latin icon Eddie Palmieri will also be hailed on the Aug. 20 date.

Retiring Cong. Charles B. Rangel will have his day after 46 years representing Harlem in the Congress. On Aug. 21, the persevering politician along with Serena Williams, Donnie McClurkin, and Eddie LeVert, lead singer for The O’Jays will also be acknowledged as individuals who have “transformed the world.”

Delivering a multiplicity of honors on that Sunday, organizers have also announced that the pioneering events of Harlem politician and Inner City Broadcasting Corporation radio innovator Percy Sutton will be highlighted by a 5K run and walk through the Harlem village.

Sutton died on Dec. 26, 2009 at age 89.

It was 42 years ago that the first celebration evolved from a one day “Harlem Day” 1974 idea to being the annual, alluring, boast-worthy attraction to thousands.

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlayne McCray hosted the first “Harlem Week” of the year event with an afternoon cultural kick-off to “Harlem Havana,” a collaborative launch to the first, annual, Harlem/Havana Music & Cultural Festival.

With a promise of heralding the bond between Harlem and the Cuban capital since World War I, films, fashion, foods and music already pack a daily listing of activities marking the Harlem/Havana connection.

“A Great Day In Harlem” slates the first series of celebration to the village on July 31.

A fashion showcase, gospel caravan, international cultural showcase and a concert under the stars is billed at Ulysses S. Grant Memorial Park, 122nd St. & Riverside Drive.

Guaranteed to pour over the significance and excellence Harlem has contributed to the New York landscape, “A Great Day In Harlem” was inspired by a classic photograph captured by Art Kane when he used his camera to honor the legacies of 57 jazz greats.

Photographed on an August in 1958 at 126th St. the black and white, classic picture captures the images of the now-legends in front of a Harlem brownstone located between Madison & Fifth Aves.

The picture commissioned by Esquire Magazine freezes for posterity, the images of musicians and singers including: Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Maxine Sullivan, Lester Young, Gerry Mulligan and others.

Kane born in 1925, died in 1995 but his initial project has been recreated to honor greats in hip-hop, rhythm and blues and a myriad of genre.

“A Great Day in Harlem” during Harlem Week will feature local artists, community groups and institutions and according to organizer Woza Rivers is the embodiment of sentiments dedicated to the outstanding Manhattan hamlet

A higher education fair and exposition, an economic development day, “Elder’s Jubilee” salute to senior citizens, vendors and a plethora of activities are also scheduled to last throughout the “world’s longest week” due to its expanded feature of more than 111 events which actually begin in July and intensifies during the week of Aug. 15 – 21.

For more information, log on to www.harlemhaven.nyc or www.harlemweek.com.

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