WHAT’S GOING ON By Victoria Horsford

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Vera Moore

HARLEM, USA

 The 4/12 Schomburg Fete was quite an elaborate party. New Schomburg Center Director Kevin Young was formally introduced to library members and friends.   Since his December arrival at the Schomburg, Young has been named New Yorker Magazine poetry editor, arguably a first for an African-American. Once the program began, literary lion James Baldwin emerged as the real star of the evening.  The Schomburg has acquired the James Baldwin archives – papers, manuscripts, drafts, letters – approximately 70 boxes of material. Archive purchase price was not disclosed. The NY Public Library says that acquisition was made possible by donations from the Ford Foundation, the Knight Foundation, NY Life and three donors, possibly Ray McGuire, who spoke onstage and was one of the Schomburg Fete hosts.

James Baldwin

The Schomburg is one of five research libraries in the NY Public Library universe. Red-carpet culturati who attended the Schomburg Fete include writers Jill Nelson, Pulitzer awardee Colson Whitehead, Franklin Thomas and Kate Whitney. Columbia University poetess Elizabeth Alexander, who wrote and recited an original poem for President Obama’s 2008 inauguration, and who was a student of Nobel laureate Derek Walcott. Members of the Schomburg and Baldwin clans were well-represented, as were lots of members from the Young clan.    I bought two books at the new Schomburg street-level book store and viewed the BLACK POWER exhibit.

The Haitian-born, Paris-based writer Joel Dreyfuss wrote the 4/16 NY Times Travel section cover story, “A LA FRANCAISE IN HARLEM”, an informative directory of Harlem’s French bistros from Barawine, Cherie, Ponty Bistro to Maison Harlem, Chez Lucienne and Patisserie Ambassade. Owners’ bios are included. The piece really whets the appetite for more food and/or info.    The Chez Lucienne narrative was a bit confusing. Dreyfuss said that its current owner, Thierry Guizonne, is a man from Guadaloupe. Most people know Senegalese Fara Fall as the owner of Chez Lucienne, Lenox Saphire and Patisserie Ambassade.  Qui est Monsieur Guizonne?

 Fox TV and Apollo Theater brass announced the return of the popular variety show, SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO. Steve Harvey will host the revived weekly 60-minute show which will include segments from the Apollo’s “Amateur Night”, now in its 82nd year. SHOWTIME is set for the 2017-18 season.

[Visit Apollotheater.org]

         The Save Harlem Now, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Community Boards 9 and 10, the NYC Landmarks Conservancy are among the sponsors of Harlem’s first preservation meeting, “Harlem and the Future Preserving Culture and Sustaining Historic Character in a Changing Environment”, a day-long conference focused on West Harlem’s resilience in the face of neighborhood change on April 29 from 9 am to 5 pm at the City College of NY Spitzer School of Architecture, at 141 Convent Avenue at 135th Street. Register now at westharlemcpo@gmail.com. Will Brooklyn follow suit with its own preservation meeting?

Michael Pugh

The Carver Federal Savings Bank ranked 20th in the Crain’s NY Magazine list of the NY area’s Largest 25 Thrifts, with $700 million in assets in 2016 and with $549.7 million in outstanding total loans. Carver opened in 1948 to facilitate access to mortgages for African-Americans who were redlined by mainstream banks, a practice still in place today, well, sorta/kinda. Carver has branches and ATM machines in Harlem, Brooklyn and Queens. Michael T. Pugh is Carver President/CEO and Robert R. Tarter is Carver Board Chairman.   Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone CEO Ken Knuckles is a Carver trustee.

EDUCATION UPDATES

The National Board of the NAACP’s Task Force on Quality Education will host a hearing on Thursday, April 27, 6-8 pm at the Harlem Hospital Center and Pavilion at 506 Lenox Avenue, Harlem. The task force, formed at the NAACP 2016 Convention, called for a moratorium on new charter schools (nationally) until a more thorough examination of charters’ governance and their relationship to and effect on traditional public schools. The hearing is open to the public. [E-mail   NYSNAACP@gmail.com]

WANTED: 2017 HS and college grads who are job hunting. Check out the LaGuardia Spring Job Fair with recruiters from more than 25 companies on Thursday, April 27 from 10 am to 2 pm at Vaughn College, located at 8601 23rd Avenue, East Elmhurst, Queens, NY 11369. Job Fair sponsors include the Port Authority of NY/NJ and Vaughn College. [Visit www.caonynj.com or call 718. 523.7100]

2017: WOMEN’S YEAR

The Apollo Theater presents notable artists, activists and leaders for the return of the omnibus WOW (Women of the World) Festival, part of the Southbank Central London’s Global WOW Movement, for four days beginning May 4. Festival highlights include a tribute to vocalist/activist Abbey Lincoln, starring jazz vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Esperanza Spalding, live storytelling and a series of panel discussions, workshops and performance artists. Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Gaboury Sidibe will speak on empowerment and activism.

The Harlem Business Alliance hosts its 36th Annual Awards Celebration Gala on Wednesday, May 3rd at Mist Harlem, 46 West 116th Street.   Honorees are Jeanne Warford, WK Kellogg Foundation; Vera Moore, Vera Moore Cosmetics; Dyana Williams, Influence Entertainment; Glenda Carr and Kimberly Peeler-Allen, Higher Heights; Jodie Patterson, Doobop & Georgia LGBTQ Activist; and Dr. Aletha Maybank, NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene. [Visit HBANY.ORG]          

Tracy Reese

The New York Urban League(NYUL) hosts its 52nd Annual Frederick Douglass Dinner Awards at the Chelsea Piers, Pier Sixty, Manhattan, on May 16. Gala honorees include Tracy Reese, American fashion designer; Erica Payne, President, Patriotic Millionaires; and Tiffany R. Warren, Sr. Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, Omnicom Group and Founder/President ADCOLOR. The NYULYoung Adults will host an After-Party, which begins at 9 -11 pm. [Visit nyul.org]

ARTS/CULTURE

The 24th Annual African Film Festival(AFF) opens at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Maysles Cinema in Harlem and the Brooklyn Academy of Music from May 3 to May 29.   The festival showcases feature films, shorts, documentaries by Africans and African Diasporans.  The opening night film, VAYA, is a feature which reveals how three strangers on a train, traveling from a coastal town to Johannesburg, South Africa, are bound by interlocking destinies. Bill Greaves’ 1966 documentary, “The First World Festival of Negro Artists + African Rhythms”, is on the AFF bill. The brainchild of Sierra Leone-born Mahen Bonetti, the AFF is the first festival which celebrates African culture through moving images in the USA. The AFF co-presents the festival with the Film Society at Lincoln Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  [Visit Africanfilmny.org]

Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad is back in the news. Read his NY Times Book Section cover story/reviews titled “Power and Punishment”, about two nonfiction books, LOCKING UP OUR OWN: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman, Jr. and A COLONY IN A NATION by Chris Hayes. Former Schomburg director, Dr. Muhammad is a Harvard Kennedy School Professor of History, Race and Public Policy; and the author of the nonfiction book, “The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America”.

South Africa’s jazz epistles, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and trumpeter Hugh Masekela, appear in concert at Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, Manhattan, on April 27. Their performance will be captured for Jazz Night in America on NPR and the CHECKOUT produced by WGBO.

SPRING BREAKS

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and Brooklyn Bridge Park(BBP) announced the 2017 Spring/Summer events calendar which runs from April 8 through August 24 along the waterfront park. The activities offer omnibus pleasures from movies, fitness sessions, storytelling, basketball clinics to vendor pavilions, kayaking, foods, fine art exhibits and installations.   The Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation Summer Program returns to 99 Plymouth.   BBP Spring/Summer events boast over 600 free and low-cost events. [Visit Brooklynbridgepark.org]

A Harlem-based writer, Victoria Horsford can be reached at Victoria.horsford@gmail.com.