After World War I, African-American neighborhoods in uptown Manhattan came together. Cities such as Detroit, Pittsburgh, and New York became a haven in the 1920’s it became a culprit for arts in African-American culture: this became the Harlem Renaissance. Imagine an event with live music, dancing and live multimedia from the 1920’s. Welcome to Harlem 100.
Mwenso and the Shakes have come together with various artists to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. Mwenso says attendees can expect “a visual and musical celebration that will leave you knowing more about the history and music of that time.” The band is capturing the sights and sounds that made Harlem popular throughout New York City through jazz sessions late at night. Legacy will be paid to artists such as Billie Holiday, Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, and Fats Waller.
The stage for the performance will have colors and sounds to exemplify that era. The show not only provides art, but exemplifies expression of an era and a culture group. Mwenso says the show is unique because it honors social freedom for African Americans. “It was an incredible movement because you never had before in black history an ability for black people to consciously raise themselves up in a certain way. And to be able to have the ability to present themselves and define their own image, define their own voice,” Michael Mwenso.
The show will feature classic music from the 1920’s, Mwenso and the Shakes will also be performing music from their new album Emergence, special guest vocalists Vuyo Sotashe and Brianna Thomas will be performing along with tap dancer Michela Marina Lerman.
Join us for Harlem 100 at Loeb Playhouse, November 1 at 8:00 PM. Dr. Cornelius Bynum, Associate Professor in the Department of History, will be hosting a pre-show discussion in Stewart Center 310 at 7:00 PM.