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Want to grab a bite after Starring Harlem? While We Are Still Here partnered with local restaurants to provide Starring Harlem patrons with discounted food options. Simply present your ticket to any of the sessions of the festival, and you will receive a discount at participating restaurants. Restaurant seating is not guaranteed. First come, first served.
Subs Conscious (10% off)
1213 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10027, Amsterdam between 119th and 120th
Hours of operation: 7am-4pm
Wu and Nussbaum (10% off)
2897 Broadway, New York, NY 10025, 7am-9:30pm, On the SW corner of Broadway and 112th
Hours of operation: 7am- 9:30pm
Mel’s Burger Bar (15% off)
2850 Broadway, New York, NY 10025, Broadway between 110th and 111th
Hours of operation: 11am- 12am
In their second collaboration, While We Are Still Here (WWSH) and Reel Sisters will present Starring Harlem, a one-day film festival showcasing works that are either about Harlem or by Harlem filmmakers. WWSH and Reel Sisters (the nation's first Oscar-qualifying film festival devoted to women of color), will present films celebrating Harlem's rich cinema legacy and special selections from Reel Sisters.
Dance In Circles (9 mins)
Released in 2023, the short film is written and directed by Yuming Zhang. Dance in Circles features Feng and Flora as they perform a dance duet. Their movements begin in synchronization, but as it progresses, Feng becomes more frantic while Flora remains reserved. Through their duet, Feng relives a hate crime she experienced at a bus stop, as Flora remembers a sexual assault she faced in an elevator. After their dance, Flora exits through the elevator but recoils in fear when someone abruptly joins her. It turns out to be Feng, another survivor confronting her trauma in an unforgiving world.
I Am Not Okay (12 mins)
Written and directed by Brad Arnold, I Am Not Okay (2023) the horror short follows a husband and wife who go camping to try and get past a trauma that has driven a wedge between them, but out in the desert night, the darkness has something else in store for them.
Miller Theatre at Columbia University
Broadway and 116th Street
Here Is a Man (18 mins)
Directed by Sideeq Heard and written by Jarvis D. Matthews and David Mulei, Here is a Man (2023) is a short drama about Donny Hathaway, a young, Black musician, who is on the cusp of becoming the greatest soul singer of the 1970s, but the quiet dread within his own mind threatens to derail his future.
City of Dreamz (12 mins)
Directed by Imani Celeste Fuentes, City of Dreamz (2023) follows four Black art students telling stories of community, divine intervention, and the artistry that led them to this very moment...smoking weed in a cramped NYC apartment trying not to get caught.
RIP, LOL (16 mins)
Written and directed by Charles Coleman, RIP, LOL (2023) features an NYU student, Willow, who goes back home to Richmond, Virginia with her best friend, Jackie, as her support system, to see her parents and “celebrate” what would have been her older brother’s twenty-sixth birthday. The short is an examination of grief and how loss affects an entire family.
Confirmation (12 minutes)
Ring Shout-Let the Circle Be Unbroken (76 minutes)
Written and directed by Olubayo Jackson, Ring Shout-Let the Circle Be Unbroken (2022) is an exploration of sacred dance in Africa and the diaspora that leads an NYC teacher on a worldwide journey to reconnect severed cultural ties. Her quest to document the Ring Shout, an age-old praise dance rooted in African spiritual traditions, leads her to a rural Georgia museum where she discovers a long-lost branch of her family and her Gullah Geechee roots. There, she must decide if she will honor her elder cousin’s dying wish and embrace the mantle of carrying his legacy and these vanishing traditions forward.
Moderator: Moikgantsi Kgama is an audience-development specialist with a reputation for excellence in her field. Some of her credits include, I Will Follow, the Academy Award-nominated Trouble the Water, Killer Sheep, and Lumumba. She is also the founder of the ImageNation Cinema Foundation, a Harlem-based, nonprofit, media-arts organization. ImageNation presents progressive media by and about people of color, with the goal of establishing a chain of art-house cinemas dedicated to these works. Through a variety of public exhibitions and programs, ImageNation fosters media equity, media literacy, solidarity, cross-cultural exchange and highlights the humanity of Pan-African people worldwide. Moikgantsi earned a BS in Newspaper Journalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Section C: 4:30-6:05
The Five Demands (75 minutes)
Directed by Greta Schiller and Andrea Weiss, The Five Demands (2023) revisits the untold story of the explosive student takeover and proves that a handful of ordinary citizens can band together to take action and effect meaningful change. In April 1969, a small group of Black and Puerto Rican students shut down the City College of New York, an elite public university located right in the heart of Harlem. Fueled by the revolutionary fervor sweeping the nation, the strike soon turned into an uprising, leading to the extended occupation of the campus, classes being canceled, students being arrested, and the resignation of the college president. Through archival footage and modern-day interviews, we follow the students’ struggle against the institutional racism that, for over a century, had shut out people of color from this and other public universities.
Moderator: Karen D. Taylor is a writer, curator, and multi-genre artist who has lived in Harlem for over thirty years. She is the founder and executive director of While We Are Still Here, a Harlem-based, heritage-preservation non-profit. Inspired by the national discussion on “gentrification,” Karen is moved to steward the creation of programming that wraps the arts and humanities in a package that is a gift to the future.
Section D: 6:20-8:00
Sundays at the Triple Nickel (13 minutes)
Written by Jess Colquhoun and directed by Colquhoun and Adam Rachlitz, Sundays at the Triple Nickel (2020) is a documentary short that features Marjorie Eliot, a woman who is making sure her apartment building's iconic jazz legacy lives on in the iconic neighborhood of Sugar Hill, Harlem. Marjorie and her son have been hosting jazz concerts in her apartment every Sunday for the past twenty-six years—a pursuit of overcoming grief through music. This film tells the story of the woman behind the piano, and how Marjorie's generous vision came to be.
Mary Lou Williams: Lady Who Swings the Band (70 minutes)
Directed by Carol Bash, Mary Lou Williams: Lady Who Swings the Band (2015) features the life and legacy of jazz pianist, Mary Lou Williams, a genius ahead of her time. From child prodigy to "Boogie-Woogie Queen" to groundbreaking composer to mentoring some of the greatest musicians of all time, she never ceased to astound those who heard her play. But for a Black woman in the early 1900s, life as a star did not come easy.
Mary Lou Williams: Lady Who Swings the Band
“This event is postponed due to weather concerns. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we will follow up with details for a new date soon.”
Harlem Renaissance Librarian: Regina Anderson Andrews
Washington Heights Branch, 1000 St. Nicholas Ave. | 1pm
This SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Harlem Heritage Markers Project Unveiling Honors
Regina Anderson Andrews.
This partnership between While We Are Still Here, the New York Public Library, and First Books is sponsored by New York Life. There will be a Book Giveaway and special activities for children ages 7 to 11. The books tell the story of Harlem immortals that include photographer James Vanderzee.
Regina Anderson Andrews began her career with the New York Public Library in 1923 at the 135th Street branch, bringing her to the center of the Harlem Renaissance. Later in her career, she was the first African American woman to head a branch, and retired from the Washington Heights library. During the Renaissance, Andrews brought prominent speakers to 135th Street and created writing spaces for writers such as Langston Hughes.
Her apartment, at 580 St. Nicholas Avenue, was a hub for the Harlem Renaissance crowd. She was also a playwright. She shared the flat with Louella Tucker and Ethel Ray, who worked with publisher, Charles Johnson, at the Urban League’s Opportunity Magazine as a researcher. Their home was the site of a literary salon, where people such W.E.B. Du Bois and James Weldon Johnson attended. In her earliest days in Harlem, Zora Neale Hurston slept on the sofa.
Parents will be given a copy of Renaissance Librarian: Regina Anderson Andrews the award-winning biography by Ethelene Whitmire.
Coleman Hawkins: The Man Who Changed the Sound of Black Music
445 W. 153rd Sreet | 1pm
Host, Sheila Anderson of WBGO
Following the unveiling, a 2nd line will proceed to the Sugar Hill Luminaries Lawn at Edgecombe Avenue and 155th Street for the 7th Annual Sugar Hill Music Festival, where a special tribute will be performed in Hawkins’s memory.
This marker unveiling pays homage to the supremely influential tenor saxophonist, Coleman Hawkins. His musical legacy remains a benchmark for the music that we have come to call jazz. Remarks include a reading of a statement prepared by NEA jazz master, Sonny Rollins, who considers Hawkins a primary influence.
Sugar Hill Luminaries Lawn
Edgecombe Avenue and W. 155th Street
Sheila Evans, emcee
Hosted by Sheila Evans
Music curator, Terrance McKnight of WQXR
Drama curator, American Theatre of Harlem
To get tickets click here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lift-evry-black-voice-of-fire-tickets-686648743877?aff=oddtdtcreator
Join While We Are Still Here as we unveil the first four markers in the SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Harlem Heritage Markers Project
This histroic event pays homage to four exemplars of Black pride. This bus tour will visit the marker sites of Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, J. Rosamond Johnson, and Larry Neal. Family members and scholars will be on hand to offer their remarks regarding each man’s legacy. There will also be rousing, brief performances by a cadre of celebrated musicians and actors.
Marcus Garvey/UNIA (1PM- 2PM) Bus will pick up registered people from here.
2395 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
Site of Marcus Garvey Meeting Hall, named for the founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association who fostered Black Pride.
Eon Gray, “The Principles of the Universal Negro Improvement Association” (Excerpt)
Malcolm X/Faith Temple Church (2:30PM- 3:30PM)
1763 Amsterdam Ave.
On February 27, 1965, Ossie Davis eulogized Malcolm X, as “Our Black, Shining Prince” at Faith Temple Church.
Andre Blake, “The Race Problem,” “There’s a Worldwide Revolution Going On”
J. Rosamond Johnson (4PM- 4:30PM) Last bus stop
437 W. 162nd St.
A prolific composer known for “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” he championed Black music in the US and Europe.
Lawrence “Larry” Neal (4:35PM-5PM)
12 Jumel Ter.
Neal was a force in the 1960s Black Arts Movement. He was a playwright, poet, professor, and Guggenheim Fellow.
Lift Ev'ry Black Voice of Fire Performance Honoring J. Rosamond Johnson and Larry Neal
Jumel Mansion (5PM- 6PM)
Please join While We Are Still Here for a performance of excerpts from Larry Neal’s works by the cast. J. Rosamond Johnson’s music will be performed by Damien Sneed, piano; Marcelle Davies-Lashley, voice; and Josh Henderson, violin.