By Lil Nickelson
The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce (“GHCC”) theme for 2023 was “BE THE CHANGE. Hope. Joy. Love. The day began at 12 Noon with the opening of the International Village along the closed-from-traffic northbound side of Riverside Drive lined with vendors selling their products. It was a beautiful day and it felt like God was smiling down on our celebration on this sunny afternoon.
Free tours of the actual tomb were available for a set number of hours, which I visited when I was a teenager. Entertainment from the stage began at 1 p.m. and was presented in four distinct segments: Artz, Rootz, Rhythm, Gospel, Fashion, and the Concert Under The Stars. Local, community, and emerging performers of various genres entertained the crowd including Uptown Dance Academy, IMPACT Repertory Theatre as well as a spoken word artist who was accompanied by a singer.
Naturally on a Sunday afternoon in Harlem several gospel acts performed including Vy Higginsen’s Mama’s Foundation Sing Harlem choir and gospel great Hezekiah Walker. The Fashion Flavor fashion show is always fabulous.
The best part of the day for me was walking around and spotting friends from my old neighborhood, from my high school days, and even from my church seated in various areas over the memorial grounds. Some local political leaders were in attendance. Quite a number of our community leaders are there every year like Princess Jenkins, owner The Brownstone Boutique, who gracious help me with a wardrobe malfunction, or Jackie Rowe-Adams, Harlem Mothers Save co-founder, Vy Higginsen, Mama’s Foundation, or Voza Rivers executive producer and founding member of the New Heritage Theatre Group and 1st Vice President at GHCC and Lloyd Williams, Executive Director GHCC.
The day concluded in the evening under the stars with Harlem Music Festival (“HMF”) director Ray Chew, leading the HMF All-Star Band on a total get on your feet and jam session of R & B, and hip-hop tunes. It concluded with a musical salute remembering Tina Turner and that featured special guest Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Nona Hendryx.
Experienced Senior Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the food & beverages industry. Skilled in Sales, Management, Business Development, Marketing Strategy, and Social Media. Strong consulting professional with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in Finance and Financial Management Services from New York University – Leonard N. Stern School of Business. She has worked as a columnist in Harlem, Dining With Miss Lil with Harlem World Magazine for many years. Read more about Lil Nickelson.
Photo credits: 1) Voza Rivers and Vy Higginsen. 2-4) Lloyd Williams. By Rudy Collins.
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