It began as an event and over the years it has become a summer tradition. Harlem Summer Stage is the yearly event local residents dust off their chairs and mark on their calendars.
Yesterday, the summer kick-off event was action packed and eventful from the mid-afternoon into early evening. The pace of the day never stopped until the end. The kick-off began at 3pm with activites for the family to enjoy. The kids jumped around in a bounce house and took train rides around the State Building while parents enjoyed the sounds from DJ Chuck Chillout and DJ Stormin Norman.
The main stage was hosted by WBLS radio personalities DejaVu and Dr. Bob Lee. Yet throughout the night the celebrities came through to show their support. Folks like comedian Capone, DJ Kid Capri, LuvBug Starski, Senator Bill Perkins and the list goes on. You even had upcoming talents like poet Robin Baxter come thru to show support and love. Young and old the vibe was peaceful and everyone was on one agenda; to have FUN!
The main stage show was a lot of fun. You had a fashion show by Bill Witherspoon. Many of you know Mr. Witherspoon from “The Brownstone.” Gotta love em! Then you had live performances by new recording artist Evan Cole and his mentor/ CEO Rasheeda Wallace. The two ripped the stage! Evan’s new single; “Up and Away” does just that it takes you up and away from any unhappy feelings you may have felt before he started singing. Signed to Clearstorm Media Group (Rasheeda’s label) Evan has been traveling and pushing his new single to audiences from every corner of the US. Rasheeda on the other hand gave the audience time. She spoke to them. Saluted all the big girls in the audience and then ripped through vocal runs like the veteran she is as if they were easy breathing exercises. Many in the audience who knew her songs sang with her and danced as well. Her new single, “I Love it” featuring Chubb Rock made folks sing and review the song as if they were saying the title. That was because they loved it. The show ended with the “Best Line Dancers” instructed by choreographer Brooklyn Ed. Every Wednesday in the State Building you can learn line dances for only $5 per person. The class runs from 5 to 9;30pm. What a perfect way to burn some calories. If you are not in Harlem you can also dance with the Best Line Dancers in Brooklyn from 7 – 9:30 for only $10 per person.
Before the show began I got a chance to speak with April the event organizer. Zealous and excited to be kicking off yet another year of Harlem Summer Stage, April showed how much this event is a labor of love. She explained that Harlem Summer Stage is an opportunity to give back and yet at the same time pay forward. It’s a yearly event that gives local talent and local entrepreneurs an opportunity to connect and support the community that supports them and their businesses. She went on the say that the eight week festival will showcase a different theme each week. The festival has rapidly become the place to be and will be again this year; every Thursday night between 5:00pm to 8:00pm. It started yesterday July 10th and will continue until August 28th.
The weekly rosters are full. Next week’s theme is Harlem Dancers and its filled with amazing dancers. They have the Dance Theater of Harlem, Uptown Dance Academy, Full Force Dance Troupe, Millennium Dance Company and Universal Dance Movement all in one night. After that July 24th its Soul Night. Next week after that the theme is R&B Night. Followed by African Night. Then on August 14th they switch it up and give you some Latin/Salsa Music. Only to bring back the Harlem Renaissance the following week with Jazz music. Of course they will end the festival giving thanks for another successful festival with Gospel Music. Action packed and fun-filled Harlem Summer Stage 2014 will make memories to further bond and continue to build its community.
The evening was packed with friends, family, networking and news. One bit of news I found interesting came from my good friend James “Cool Breeze” Grey. Four years ago James founded the first ever in the United States, Father’s Parade. Now in its fourth year being held this year on Saturday, July 26th the parade is going to be bigger than ever. His partner David Hill and him explained how they have Monster Energy Drink as a sponsor. The parade will start in the morning and end in St. Nicholas park where they will have food and entertainment for the afternoon. If you are interested and want moore information go to http://www.harlemtransformationproject.com
However the best news of the festival is even BIGGER!!! This year the Harlem Summer Stage will be broadcasted on UBCTV. YES! You will be able to watch Harlem Summer Stage from the comfort of your couch or mobile phone. Peggy Dodson CEO & Founder of UBCTV decided that it’s time to start being more visible in the community UBCTV will make its national headquarters. “I am proud to live in Harlem.” exuberates Peggy “The streets of Harlem has tremendous history. For UBCTV to be able to document some of the greatness of now for the generation of the future, its exciting. I have always loved Summer Stage. Today to contribute and be a part of the festivities makes me love it even more.”
For more information on Harlem Summer Stage go to www.summerstageinharlem.org Also be certain to support it by following and tweeting @eventsatACPSOB or like them on facebook @SummerStageinHarlem Also remember to join Club UBC at http://www.ubctvnetwork.com to stay informed, advised and connected to what’s new and what’s next. Getting moore than what you bargain for @ameliaismore PEACE!