Radio & records collaborate to aid radio griot

On the 126th anniversary of the birth of Jamaican national hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey, an impressive community support dominated a day-long, marathon, internet broadcast in Harlem which appealed to charitable donors for aid.

Individuals, families and groups filed into the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. to show solidarity for radio broadcaster Imhotep Gary Byrd in his quest to pursue alternative treatment for his son Khamit whose sight has been declining.

During a webbathon hosted by Ken “Spider” Webb, radio personalities Ken Simmonds, MJI alum, Vaughn Harper, former host of WBLS’s ‘The Quiet Storm’, Bob Law, veteran host of WWRL’s ‘Night Talk,’ G. Keith Alexander, WKTU and WBLS alum, Lenny Greene, host of “WBLS-FM’s Quiet Storm” and others represented the fraternity.

Each punctuated the need for charitable donation to the cause of funding stem cell treatment that could reverse the debilitating macular condition Khamit Byrd has been experiencing. They joined Sandra Trim Dacosta of BulLion Foundation and a former record company executive in a determined effort to execute the day’s purposeful mission.

It was also the eve of Harlem Day and with assistance from floor manager Audrey Adams and audio technicians who helmed the live broadcast stream, a winning team of experts produced a stellar webcast.

Rhythm and blues singer Allyson Williams, jazz legend Roy Ayers and legendary, singer/songwriter Will Downing delved into the project. Downing was unable to attend but called into the broadcast and donated $1,000 to the cause. Ayers who said he had committed to another event made a brief stop but during that period offered full support. Williams seemed a committed advocate. The singer thrilled her audience and in the process wooed online listeners to contribute to the cause. Present during her performances were Carol Cruickshank, Carol Craig, Camille Yarborough, cultural activist and dance choreographer, J.D. Livingstone, producer, Vena Baker, community activist and Garvey-advocate, Don Thomas, New York Beacon editor, Lawrence Parker, artist and numerous community-concerned individuals.

Byrd, the host of programs aired on three NYC radio stations – WBLS, WLIB and WBAI – is acclaimed for being a radio griot. Recently he made a heartfelt request to listeners to contribute to his son’s health needs by donating.

Throughout 40 years since he started, Byrd hosted programs on WWRL-AM, MJI Broadcasting and for a period co-helmed a morning Caribbean show aired on WLIB and numerous talk programs on the station. He currently hosts the Global Black/Beat Experience on WBAI-FM, the GBE Mind Flight on WLIB-AM and Express Yourself on WBLS-FM.

A website has been set up with a medical fundraising organization for Khamit at:

Those of you who wish to send greetings or leave messages can do so by calling 212-592-3279.

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