In recognition of Black History Month 2021, CityParks Foundation SummerStage takes a look back at moments from its first-ever all-virtual season. The excerpts will include highlights from our SummerStage Anywhere 2020 programming, featuring spoken word, music and dance performances. Joining us to introduce the program is Harlem-based journalist and musician, Greg Tate, a SummerStage alumni and co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition, which is celebrating its 35th Anniversary. These are Free online events.
Lift Every Voice: Celebrating 150 Years of James Weldon Johnson’s Legacy ~ February 4
James Weldon Johnson, born June 17, 1871, was an American author, politician, diplomat, critic, journalist, poet, anthologist, educator, lawyer, songwriter, and early civil rights activist. We are celebrating his incredible legacy and contributions to the Arts with a visit to his final place of rest at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn; appearances from poet and playwright Elizabeth Alexander and singer/actress Phylicia Rashad, courtesy of The Library of America and The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and performances by celebrated dancers Desmond Richardson (Complexions Contemporary Ballet) and Khalia Campbell (Alvin Ailey); and musician Angie Swan, of David Byrne’s American Utopia.
Thursday, February 4, from 7:00 to 7:15pm, airing on SummerStageAnywhere.org, SummerStage YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch
‘Rodney King’ Film Conversation with Roger Guenveur Smith and Dr. Stephanie Leigh Batiste ~ February 11
This conversation will focus on the 2017 film “Rodney King” directed by Spike Lee, featuring the Bessie-Award winning solo performance shot at SummerStage in Manhattan’s East River Park, and will feature the writer and star of the film Roger Guenvuer Smith and academic, author, and performance artist Dr. Stephanie Leigh Batiste. They will dive into the performance’s early improvisational roots, international theatrical runs, and its screen adaptation, focusing on the continued resonance of Rodney King in a new decade that has been tragically fraught with unresolved issues of state-sanctioned violence. The film gives voice to the man at the center of the brutal police beating that helped fuel the 1992 Los Angeles uprising. The film is currently streaming on Netflix and in advance of the conversation, will be made available to watch for free by special arrangement (Information on how to access the film will be available prior to the screening).
Thursday, February 11 from 7:00 to 7:45pm, Airing on SummerStageAnywhere.org, SummerStage YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitch
The Rewind: A Celebration of Black Culture with ann Introduction by Greg Tate ~ February 18
Thursday, February 18 from &;00 to 7:45pm, Airing on SummerStageAnywhere.org, SummerStage YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch
Michael Mwenso: Hope, Resist & Heal, Performance and Conversation with Shannon Effinger ~ February 25
Musician, artist and social commentator Michael Mwenso offers his unique and ancestral perspective on Black music and its power to heal us. As an African-born queer man growing up in London and New York, Mwenso will dive into a wide range of his own discoveries while shedding light on the Black experience through interludes of his own music. This live studio recording with Mwenso and the Shakes and commentary with arts journalist Shannon Effinger (New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR Music, Pitchfork) will take us on a ride through the continuum and power of Black roots music. He will be joined by his group, Mwenso and the Shakes, a multicultural New York jazz group.
In association with New York Music Month Extended Play, an initiative of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Entertainment, this event will take place on Thursday, February 25 from 7:00 to 7:45pm, airing on SummerStageAnywhere.org, SummerStage YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitch