‘Sisterhood’ Apollo Concert Bonds

Melba Moore.
AP Photo/Peter Kramer

June Is Black Music Month:

Six veterans of the music industry captivated fans of their recordings when they teamed for a “Heart to Heart” concert at the Apollo Theater recently. Hit-makers Melba Moore, Monifah Carter, Miki Howard, Allyson Williams and Meli’sa Morgan united for a ‘Sisterhood Experience’ and in the process introduced Ms. J, a promoter and singer who reprised a few nostalgic songs the audience seemed to appreciate.

Backed by a live band, Ms. J teased the mixed crowd singing “Circles,” “Dreams,” and songs familiar to the savvy crowd. Incorporating a multi-media video presentation to her message she won cool points with the Harlem gathering by hailing historically significant women such as Harriet Tubman, Coretta Scott King and Angela Davis.

“The show is dedicated to all my sister who think they are alone and our brothers who tampered our throne,” she said.

But the music was in the message and Williams delivered both in her renditions of her 1989, Billboard chart-topper “Just call My name.”

An impromptu chorus almost drowned out the New Yorker as she reprised the radio-friendly hit. The sing-along found amateur singers echoing and anticipating each lyric of her biggest record seller. She was in sync with the band she said was her very own assembly of musicians. With drummer Jason, Brian on bass, Todd on saxophone, Aaron on keyboards, three backup singers and two unidentified accompanyists, the six piece Allyson Williams Experience proved the main ingredient for a winning concert session.

Moore acknowledged each member through a segment that revealed their skill, superlative talent and stellar stage presence.

She also raved about the sisterhood bond she shares with Morgan, Williams and Howard. Together they scaled the pinnacle of success. She mentioned the turbulent times too but gave little details of the cruel treatment reported in tabloid media a few years ago. In fact, she graciously relayed how together, she and her daughter had mended their broken relationship. Without naming her husband, she referenced the businessman with kindness and perceived forgiveness of any misdeeds.

Moore’s individual tribute to her colleagues seemed genuine. She even toasted the crowd with a long drink she downed all at once. They cheered the gesture.

She explained a new association with Monifah with whom she said she is developing a bond. Her repertoire included the up-tempo “You Stepped Into My Life,” and “Lean On Me.”

She shimmered in a one-shouldered, floor-length gown. Perhaps she should have traded tunes with Morgan to deliver Prince’s “Purple Rain.” She stunned wearing the color purple.

Morgan also treated another Prince favorite singing “Do Me Baby,” the song that skyrocketed to the top of the charts in 1985. She also borrowed from Chaka Khan’s songbook to sing “Sweet Thing.” She could do no wrong; through five outfit changes she was in “Paradise.”

The Queens native, co-hosted, co-produced and cosigned a diva collaboration.

Monifah’s “I Miss You” seemed appropriate.

She expressed appreciation from the hometown crowd and seemed elated to join the sisterhood.

After what seemed like a hiatus from the concert circuit, last year the Spanish Harlem native joined three successful women on the “R&B Divas” TV One reality show and was warmly greeted at the landmark theater.

After 26 years in the music business, Howard declared she had found “love under new management” with her son helming her career. At age 52-year-old, the California-resident seemed agile and energetic. In order to get closer to her audience she did not hesitate to descend from the high stage by bypassing the stairs. Between aisles, she passed the microphone to select individuals who mimicked “Come Share My Love,” the song that launched her into the sisterhood in 1986. A former Atlantic, Hush and Giant recording artist kicked off both red, shoes to comfortably deliver “Misty” in a mellow and mood-filled manner.

Introduced by WBLS radio personality Shayla, the concert event attracted a single male celebrity host with a cameo appearance from Vaughn Harper, former “Quiet Storm” who is now hosting a first- Friday monthly in Harlem.

JAMAICANS GREET PM IN ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA

Jamaicans in Ethiopia greeted Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller with the kind of welcome she will not soon forget. The brief stop into the capital City of Addis Ababa invited a few to The Radisson Blu Hotel on May 27. They were there for the 50th anniversary of the OAU/AU and the government of Ethiopia. Among the guests were: Priest Paul Phang, representative for Shashamane African Jamaicans in Ethiopia greeted Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller with the kind of welcome she will not soon forget. The brief stop into the capital City of Addis Ababa invited a few to The Radisson Blu Hotel on May 27. Among the guests were: Priest Paul Phang, representative for Shashamane African Diaspora Ras Tafari community, Dr. Kerida McDonald, director of communication UNICEF Ethiopia and Dr. Desta Meghoo, PM Portia Simpson Miller, Consultant and Liaison to African Union for Africa Union Diaspora Africa Forum.

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