The annual gala on Thursday, April 2nd at MIST Harlem. The executive committee of the Harlem Arts Festival ill present the Lynnette Velasco Community Impact Award to Dr. Brenda Greene, the executive director of the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York.
Dr. Greene will be this year’s sole recipient for the award which was first introduced at last year’s gala and awarded to Linda Walton of the Harlem Arts Alliance and the late musician and social activist Fred Ho.
“Throughout her career, Dr. Greene has demonstrated a clear passion for protecting, developing and cultivating the spaces, programs and resources that make it possible for Black writers and their artistic work to thrive,” said Neal Ludevig, executive director of the Harlem Arts Festival.
Protesters Aim to Save Harlems Historic Renaissance Ballroom from Demolition – Video: via Protesters Aim to Save Harlems Historic Renaissance Ballroom from Demolition – NY1.
“The Ballroom was completed in 1924 as part of a larger entertainment hub that included a bustling casino and 900-seat theatre. Built and operated by black businessmen, the “Rennie” was the only upscale reception hall available to African Americans at the time. Prize fights, concerts, dance marathons, film screenings, and stage acts were held at the Renaissance, along with elegant parties and meetings of the most influential social clubs and political organizations in Harlem. The community’s elite gathered to dance the Charleston and the Black Bottom to live entertainment by the most renowned jazz musicians of the age.
“The nightspot even played host to the nation’s first all-black professional basketball team, also called the Harlem Renaissance, considered by some to be the best in the world in their day. On game nights, portable hoops were erected on the dance floor, converting the ballroom into a stadium. Following each game, almost invariably a victory for the Rens, a dance was held where players would mingle and jive with the choicest ladies of Harlem. The team barnstormed in towns across the country, playing exhibition games in which coveted matches with white teams drew the largest crowds. In their best season, the Renns set a record with 88 consecutive wins that has yet to be broken.”
The MacArthur Foundation named 21 “extraordinarily creative people” as the 2014 recipients of its annual MacArthur Fellows Program—widely referred to as the “genius” grants.
Four African Americans are among this year’s consortium.
These individuals were nominated by an anonymous and esteemed group of people who are experts in their fields. The fellows had to demonstrate not only that they are brilliant self-starters in their respective professions but also that they are pushing the limits on future work that has “the potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work,” the foundation’s site reads.
via 4 Black People Named as Recipients of the 2014 MacArthur Fellowship – The Root.
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