Harlem Week 50th Anniversary Gala: Celebrate The Journey

July 5, 2024


In celebration of Black Music Month, Harlem Week kicked off its 50th Anniversary celebration with a festive gala at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

Presented by The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Amazon Access, and Nederlander, the festive evening was hosted by renowned radio personalities Debi B. Jackson and G Keith Alexander. 

Members of Harlem Week Board of Directors Voza Rivers, Marko Nobles and Winston Majette opened the evening’s program with a warm reflective greeting. “Who would have thought 50 years ago that we would be having this celebration of a one-day event started in 1974”, shared Rivers, a founding member of Harlem Week. “We endured, we prospered, and we kept adding to Harlem’s reputation as a cultural capital of Black America.”  

Themed Celebrate the Journey, Harlem Week 50th Anniversary gala saluted the first of its four historic honorees, US Congressman Charles B. Rangel. Known as the Dean of New York’s congressional delegation, Harlem’s own Honorable Charles B. Rangel, was the first African American to chair the U.S. Congress influential House Ways and Means Committee. “I want to thank all of you for being a part of me being able to say that for the 46 years I served in the US Congress,” shared Rangel. “Because of your support and love, I never had one bad day.” 

In celebration of Black Music Month, Harlem Week 50TH Anniversary saluted the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, Jazzmobile, in celebration of its 60th Anniversary this year, and Harlem school district music educators Elizabeth Cooper, Tilden Marbit, and Jesse Means. The evening also included a lively performance by multi-talented composer and instrumentalist Nat Adderley, Jr. and an electrifying post reception performance by Keith “The Captain” Gamble.

Harlem Week Music Director Ray Chew was also in attendance. In addition to presenting, the award-winning music director of ABC’s Dancing with The Stars, unveiled HARLEM WEEK 50th Anniversary theme song, “Jam.” The up-tempo, party anthem, featuring Stephanie Mills, MC Lyte, Dougie Fresh, and Kid Capri, truly captures the vibe, and uplifting feeling of being uptown with people from around the world Jamming, partying, and taking in Harlem’s cultural mystique. 

Event sponsors included Citi, Columbia University, LISC, West Harlem Development Corporation.  Co-sponsors included West Harlem Innovation Network, The Trebek Family Foundation, Manna’s, and Rethink Food.

Harlem Week 50th Anniversary events can be enjoyed in person at locations throughout Harlem and will be streamed online via www.harlemweek.com. The website is also hosting “Harlem Week 50th Flashback Flicks” featuring past performances, fashion shows, and other highlights. For more information about Harlem Week and its 50th-anniversary celebration, please visit harlemweek.com.

Photo credit: 1) HARLEM WEEK Music Director, Ray Chew (Left) and Voza Rivers, HARLEM WEEK Founder; congratulate Robin Bell-Stevens, on Jazzmobile 60th Anniversary and HARLEM WEEK 50th Anniversary Black Music Month Honoree. 2) Michael Gardner, GHCC Executive Committee Member & Nancy Dalton, Amazon Access present Honorable Charles B. Rangel with the HARLEM WEEK 50th Historic Honoree Award. 3) Pianist & Musical Director Nat Adderley, Jr. and his quartet were the headlining act during HARLEM WEEK 50th Anniversary Gala saluting Black Music Month. 4) Dr. Ademola Olugebefola HARLEM WEEK 50th Anniversary Creative Legend. 5) Michelle Scott, GHCC Board Member; Bob Tate, Irene Gandy, HW Board Member; and Dr. Hazel Dukes, HARLEM WEEK 50th Anniversary Historic Honoree. by Hubert Williams.

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