A month-long anniversary celebration kicks off in Harlem

A month-long anniversary celebration kicks off in Harlem|A month-long anniversary celebration kicks off in Harlem
Photo by Gideon Manasseh|

Mayor Michael Bloomberg hosted the kick-off ceremony for Harlem Week 2011 on The Great Lawn at Gracie Mansion on July 14, honoring the 28th anniversary of the month-long celebration,

The evening‘s entertainment was provided by members of the hit Broad Show “Baby It’s You” and Assata Alston, a budding performer from the Manhattan School of the Music.

Also in attendance renowned actor and comedian David Allen Grier who presented an award to radio station WRKS “KISS FM” celebrating its 30th anniversary, with a special visit from Shigeyuki Hiroki, consul general of Japan in New York.

Harlem Week is a celebration of the history of Harlem — dubbed America’s best known community, highlighting some of the neighborhood’s immeasurable contributions to arts, culture, civil rights, politics religion and education.

What began as Harlem Day in the summer of 1974 has expanded to a month-long celebration. This year’s events will run from July 31st to Aug. 30.

The theme for this year’s event is “A New York State of Mind” selected by organizers to acknowledge the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. First Vice Chairman Voza Rivers says, “With this year marking 10 years since 9/11 and HARLEM WEEK taking place throughout August we felt it important to acknowledge the impact of that event in all our communities and show that we are all connected and to remind the world that we were all affected; and it wasn’t just downtown Manhattan or one group of people. It was all of us.”

This year’s theme will be reflected in the global nature of programming of events and entertainment of this year’s Harlem Week, with performers representing Haiti, Japan, the Caribbean and much more.

The global nature of this year’s Harlem Week extends beyond what happens on the various stages. In a special partnership with AT&T, free Wi-Fi services will be available at the events throughout Harlem Week, from July 31 to Aug. 31.

Harlem Week participants with smartphones, laptops, tablets and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices will get access to AT&T Wi-Fi free of charge.

“As Harlemites, New Yorkers and national and international guests celebrate all that Harlem Week has to offer, we are excited that AT&T has joined in our ongoing efforts to enhance their experience and promote technology with free Wi-Fi,” said Harlem Week Chairman Lloyd Williams.

Harlem Week 2011 continues its focus on the theme: “The Health of Our Communities” with health seminars demonstrations, screenings and workshops at its Economics Development conference and Senior Citizens Day events as well as the day-long Health Village on Harlem Day.

“Whether you’re looking for children’s events, sports, film festivals, fashion, conferences and seminars or music,” Williams sauys, “Harlem Week has something for everyone.”

The Harlem Week 2011 events kick off on Sunday, July 31 at Grant’s Tomb,

“A Great Day In Harlem” and continues through August 31.

For a full listing of events log onto: www.HARLEMWEEK.com. Follow HARLEM WEEK on twitter @HarlemWeek and on Facebook.

Harlem Week First Vice President Voza Rivers.