All Articles Tagged "Harlem"
For the past few years, Harlem has been experiencing gentrification, with national chains and high-end stores opening, apartment rents rising, longtime residents moving out, and famed, culturally significant businesses such as the Lenox Lounge, Hue-Man Bookstore, and Harlem Vintage closing.
Now, according to Black Enterprise magazine, the Harlem Business Alliance has announced that it will put a $700,000 three-year grant toward opening a Small Business Support Center. This will be in an effort to help current small business survive the changing landscape of neighborhood, which until recently was mainly African American. According to the New York Times, blacks are no longer the majority in Harlem.
And white-owned businesses are moving in. As The Network Journal reported, the jazz hot spot, The Lenox Lounge closed after the owner could no longer afford the rent. Restaurateur Richard Notar has now moved in with a new eatery. Notar is a managing partner of the popular Japanese Nobu restaurant chain.
The alliance is using a grant from the Community Economic Development Program issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and will partner with IncubateNYC. The partnership aims to offer shared office space and other business incubation services, among other things. “The center will focus on assisting local shops with the skills and tools they need to stay afloat. Emphasis will especially be placed on teaching marketing, bid preparation, payroll and other crucial operations that many business owners have little to no experience in,” reports BE.
Oprah’s Master Class will be kicking off its third season Sunday, March 3rd with 14-time Grammy Award-winning singer, Alicia Keys. According to the show’s website, during the special Alicia will be discussing lessons that she has learned over the years about pursuing her passions, motherhood and marriage.
During a 30-second preview of the season premiere, the “Girl On Fire” singer can be heard describing the troubled Harlem neighborhood that she grew up in and her swift rise to fame.
“Literally, I was running from pimps and prostitutes, to boom- I was on the Oprah show.”
It also appears that she will touch on some of the shady dealings of the music industry and her negative experiences with them.
“You’re meeting people who are lying to you to get whatever they want out of you,” said the newly appointed global creative director of Blackberry during the clip.
She seems to be tackling some family demons during the upcoming episode as well.
“I realize that the only person that gets hurt from all of this anger is me,” she says of what appears to be familial drama.
The episode will premiere on the OWN network this Sunday at 10/9 c. While most appear to be completely over hearing about her relationship with Swizz Beatz, viewers may find the story of her childhood and rise to fame particularly interesting.
Watch the preview on the next page. Will you be checking out Alicia on Oprah’s Master Class this Sunday?
“Gentrification” is a dirty word to many neighborhood advocates. The idea being that opportunistic real estate interests swoop in to create high-priced luxury living for affluent yuppies—ultimately pricing out the neighborhood’s original residents.
It happens all the time, all over the country as formerly distressed ‘hoods transition into trendy local scenes. In many cases, the demographic shifts as the color of neighborhood residents lighten, their pockets deeper.
Harlem, in particular has been gentrifying for over 10 years, as 9/11 and the recession drove downtown elites from their pricey shoebox condos to the uptown neighborhood’s (relatively) more affordable five-story brownstones. “The physical space of Harlem is [and] was very attractive to them,” explains Marline Martin, director of Harlem’s LeRoy Neiman Art Center. “You know, wide streets, or landmark buildings, housing, and, of course, our cultural history.”
The Neiman Art Center, which opened in 2008, along with the year old Art in FLUX Harlem, and months’ old Harlem Wine Gallery, are part of a fresh new wave of art spaces hoping to help the neighborhood’s original community determine what “gentrified Harlem” will ultimately look like.
For centuries, and even today, you might catch black people talking about the notion of good hair. Stereotypically, the phrase “good hair” has been used to describe hair that is thinner, finer and curlier than the thick, coarse hair that is often associated with Africans and African Americans. Many in the black community have debunked the notion that one type of hair is better than other; but we took to the streets of Harlem, just to make sure everybody was on the same page. See what folks up on 125th street had to say.
If you’ve been a woman for more than a day or two, you know that men can be a bit reckless with their pick up lines. You know the cat calls and street hollers. We swung by Harlem’s notorious 125th street to ask the men over there what are their pickup lines and how successful they’ve been. See what they had to say.
Oscar Micheaux has been credited for the being the first independent black filmmaker in America, creating his moving picture shows and taking a makeshift screen and projector on the road. It’s what Moikgantsi Kgama and her husband Greg Gates started to do 15 years ago in Harlem. Before Magic Johnson’s theater and Ava Duvernay’s AaFIRM movement, they were showing independent black films, growing an audience that appreciated them and forming invaluable relationships with filmmakers abroad.
Kgama founded the ImageNation Cinema Foundation, a Harlem-based film and distribution exhibitor who has helped to usher in a new era for movie makers. Thousands of loyal patrons have seen true independent films, listened to live musical performances and become educated at ImageNation events. The company boasts programming partnerships with Lincoln Center, City of NYC Summer Sound Stage and the Schomberg Center in Black Culture. This year, it will open a new venue space in Harlem, a place where people gather to appreciate great movies, good music and good company.
Madame Noire: What is ImageNation and who are the clients that it serves?
Moikgantsi Kgama: ImageNation is a nonprofit media arts group that promotes black world culture through film and music events. Our efforts were aimed toward developing audiences for independent films about people of color. Now we’re focused on opening the doors to our cinema venue at 2031 Seventh Avenue [in Harlem]. We offer numerous exhibition vehicles including a quarterly film series at the Walter Reade Theater due to a partnership with the Film Society of Lincoln Center and a film series at the Schomburg Center. We also produce a summer-long outdoor film and music series with the City of New York.
MN: Talk about your upbringing as it relates to your work with ImageNation.
MG: My father is South African, my mom is African American. My parents were pretty progressive, especially my dad. He was a political refugee and growing up in the 70’s, he always emphasized having things that look like you; having dolls that looked like me, watching shows that looked like me. As I grew older I realized that my peers didn’t have the same upbringing and most of their perceptions of themselves were based on what they saw in the media. I became very interested in how black people were depicted.
MN: You’ve been producing events for independent filmmakers and musicians over ten years now. Has your mission changed?
MG: We did our first event in ’97. Our goals have not changed. From the time I opened ImageNation, I’ve always wanted to open a chain of cinemas; to establish a brand, build an audience and take that audience into the cinema. I think what’s changed is my approach. When I started I was really young and idealistic. I thought if you do it, somebody will fund it. So now, my approach has changed but the goals are still the same.
It bills itself as the “Largest Black Parade in America.” Missed it? Well, it just took place in Harlem on September 16th.
The African American Day Parade actually celebrated its 43rd year with an estimated million people lining Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. The parade was launched in 1968, according to its website to “provide an opportunity for African people to join together on a Special Day to highlight our history and salute African people throughout America and the world for their outstanding achievements. The parade promotes unity, dignity and pride.”
The turnout this year was more than expected, say the organizers, who go as far as to say that it was in fact the largest in all of the parade’s 43 years. Perhaps it was this year’s NYC elite–Governor David Paterson, former Mayor David Dinkins, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the New York State Board of Regents Dr. Adelaide Sanford, Rep. Charles Rangel, mayoral candidate William Thompson and Lillian Roberts, executive director of DC37—who attracted the attention.
Despite that reported turnout, media coverage of the parade is scant. Furthermore, we were in touch with parade organizers and didn’t get through. After reaching the Harlem Chamber of Commerce for additional info, they only gave us a “no comment.”
Whatever the case, parades are usually big business for a community. Although, the numbers for the African American Day Parade haven’t been released, generally they rake in millions for the vendors and other businesses in the community. The recent West Indian Day Parade was estimated to geneate at least $86 million for the city.
Besides the long list of big names (Doug E. Fresh!), bands and organizations from 12 states attended. And on the Barack Obama website, it encouraged supporters to go to the parade to drive votes.
It’s Fashion Week in New York City and the cast and crew of Basketball Wives LA are in town filming. But there isn’t a camera crew in sight in the space behind Salon 804 in Harlem. There, under the city’s iconic fire escapes, a makeshift classroom has been fashioned and Jackie Christie is teacher for the day. A dozen girls grill the reality star on her rise to fame.
Christie talks about her life story, taking care to smooth over any negative behavior they might have seen on her show. “I don’t take mess from nobody. That’s what you see on the show [with the other girls]” she told her attentive audience. “I always feel bad after. But, I’m a fighter and I have passion.”
It was a passionate, fighting spirit that led Rochelle Mosley, a celebrity stylist from Richmond, VA now based in Harlem, to start Project Girl. The program is meant to take the stigma off of living in public housing and channel the hustle it takes to survive that environment into something positive and entrepreneurial. Friday’s event with Christie is one of a series of workshops that covers an array of topics impacting girls’ lives.
Mosley started the program when she realized that many of the girls interning in her salon did not have the information they needed to prepare for the future. “This summer I took notice of how much they didn’t know,” she said. “My 17-year-old intern didn’t know how to address an envelope… I want to help them get where they need to be so they can live like Jackie, like the people they see on TV. She’s not living a lie, it’s real for her, and she can show the girls how to make it real for them.”
Project Girl workshops feature women from all walks of life. Last month a dentist came in to discuss hygiene and a life coach visited to assist the girls in working through their problems. At the request of parents in the community, Mosley opened up the sessions to girls age between the ages of 12 and 18.
The workshops are not only an opportunity for the girls to hear women share their experiences, but to support each other’s growth. The girls don’t leave Mosley’s influence once the sessions end. She uses her network to help the girls with any problem they bring to her. “I get emails all the time,” she said. “I got an email last night from a young lady who is in 11th grade and she’s in a school where there is one college counselor to 200 kids. She said she feels like time is running out and she doesn’t have the support for college.” Mosley connected her with scholarship and test prep experts.
Empowerment is the goal here. Mosley believes that fear is what holds many women back from pursuing their dreams. For her, fear was a motivator. “I’m just thinking about not being like my mother,” she said. “That’s not derogatory. I grew up a certain way. My mother never owned anything or went on vacations. I grew up like these kids. I want to tell them just because your mother isn’t talking about it, doesn’t mean it’s not possible. I’m the first entrepreneur in my family.”
Christie was brought in to impart wisdom on juggling a busy life in the entertainment industry. Although mostly known as a polarizing character on Vh1’s raucous reality show circuit, Christie has a myriad of projects going on at any given moment, including self-help books (she just released her latest, Proud to Be a Colored Girl) and a fashion line. Her advice to girls and women is to follow their dreams. “Google, Google, Google. You can never get enough education and information,” said Christie. “That’s how I learned to be a self-published author. And now I’m five books in, with three best sellers.”
If the girls are starstruck by Christie, they don’t show it. They ask everything from updates on her co-stars’ whereabouts to advice on launching entertainment careers of their own. That fearlessness makes it apparent that this small circle of girls in Harlem is the perfect foundation to forge a new crop of first-generation entrepreneurs.
The wake for Sylvia Woods, founder of the iconic Harlem restaurant Sylvia’s, will be held today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Abyssinian Baptist Church. It’s open to the public. Her funeral will take place tomorrow at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon at 11 a.m. Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy.
Ms. Woods died last Thursday at the age of 86. She suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for several years. That evening, during what was supposed to be a celebration of Sylvia’s 50th anniversary, there was a moment of silence.
There will also be a public anniversary celebration on August 1, including a parade and breakfast.
As we tweeted yesterday, Sylvia Woods, the famed founder of the Harlem restaurant “Sylvia’s,” has died at the age of 86. She had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for the past few years, according to a statement from her family.
Ms. Woods had been scheduled to appear at a ceremony honoring the 50th anniversary of her restaurant last night. Instead, there was a moment of silence.
“Sylvia Woods came to New York City with a dream and her dedication made it a reality. She exemplified the entrepreneurial spirit that is at the heart of our city’s success,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.
Woods came to New York from Hemingway, S.C. in 1962. Starting as a waitress, she went on to buy the luncheonette she worked in and turn it into the institution it is today. Famous names like the Rev. Al Sharpton, Bill Clinton, Roberta Flack, and President Obama have dined there. And it was one of the sites used in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever. Her restaurant also served busloads of tourists and locals over the past five decades.
In addition to the restaurant, which now seats 250, Ms. Woods also had a line of products, a catering service and published two cookbooks: Sylvia’s Soul Food: Recipes From Harlem’s World Famous Restaurant and Sylvia’s Family Soul Food Cookbook: From Hemingway, South Carolina, to Harlem. She was also receptive to changing her business to keep up with the times. In addition to her usual soul food, she added salads and other healthier options to the menu.
Rather than sending flowers, the family has asked for donations to the Sylvia and Herbert Woods Foundation.
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