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“This Summer Harlem is LiT!” A Three-Part Festival of Literary Bursts Ignited by Some of the Finest Writers and Performance Artists of Color in Celebration of Black Literature

Posted July 17, 2023 · Spirit in Sunset Productions Press Release

“This Summer Harlem is LiT!”

A Three-Part Festival of Literary Bursts Ignited by Some of the Finest Writers and Performance Artists of Color in Celebration of Black Literature

Spirit in Sunset Productions is excited to present “This Summer Harlem is LiT!” – A Series of Literary Bursts Ignited by Some of the Finest Writers and Performance Artists of Color in Celebration of Black Literature. “This Summer Harlem is LiT!” is a three-part literary festival that will take place in three separate venues around Harlem during the month of August. Threaded through the series is a remembrance, a tribute, an acknowledgement, and celebration of the poem “Ego Tripping,” written by the iconic and legendary poet, Ms. Nikki Giovanni. The final program of the series, “Ah, Sookie, Sookie Now!” is a multimedia “Sookie-a-thonTM” presented in dance, visual art, poetry, prose, and self-praise in honor of the poem’s 55th Birthday – the poem was written in 1968. Poets & Writers, Inc., a major sponsor of the literary festival, is the sole funder of all three of the events. Mr. Thierry Kehoe is the Director and Mr. Ricardo Hernandez is the Assistant Director of Programs and Partnerships at Poets & Writers, Inc. “This Summer Harlem is LiT!” was conceived and directed by Nikki Williams. For more information contact Spirit in Sunset Productions at byojbringyourownjoy@aol.com or (917) 675-7255 or visit Poets & Writers’ website at www.pw.org. Poets & Writers, Inc. can be reached at (212) 226-3586. All three events are FREE and Open to the Public.

Part one of the festival is entitled, “A Woman of Her Word” – A Blessed Assurance. The program is a poetry, author reading and discussion with seven Black Women literary artists. Performance Artist, Activist, Educator, Ms. Safiya Bandele, Actor, Poet, Playwright, Storyteller, Ms. Laura Bowman, Poet, Playwright, Vocalist, Ms. Renee’ Flemings, Actor, Poet, Author, Ms. Tumani Jordan, Poet, Filmmaker, Playwright, Ms. Ina Norris, Author, Journalist, Educator, Ms. Jeannette Toomer, and Special Guest Playwright, Drama Desk Award Winner, Screen Writer, and Educator,

Ms. J.e. Franklin are all participants in the program. Festival producer, Nikki Williams will moderate. At the end of the evening, the audience will have the opportunity to engage the artists in a lively discussion about the art of writing, the life of an author, the process of creating art and literature, the role of the artist vs. the role of a Black Woman Artist, as well as other relevant topics. The first program is presented by EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care located at 215 West 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Blvd, and Malcolm Blvd., formerly Seventh and Lenox Avenue from 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. The event is Free and Open to the public. For more information contact Spirit in Sunset Productions (917) 675-7255, byojbringyourownjoy@aol.com or www.emblemhealth.com.

“Black Love Along Lenox” A Lyrical LoveSong Lining the Streets of Lenox Avenue in Harlem, is a multi-generational evening of poetic celebration of Black Love. Love between those who love Black Men, Love between those who love Black Women, Love for Black Children and Love for Black Culture. Council Member Kristin Jordan Richardson will serve as guest speaker for the evening. Manhattan Visual and Performance Poet, Teaching Artist, Khuumba Ama; Journalist, Author, and long-time Writer for the Amsterdam News, Herb Boyd; Author, Poet, Producer and former Managing Editor of African Voices, and co-founder the Linyak Project, Layding Kaliba; Poet and co-founder of the Linyak Project, Tony Mitchelson; Poet, Journalist, former Editor of Essence Magazine and current Features Editor and founding partner of the online lifestyle magazine 50BOLD.com, Angela Kinamore; Poet and Jazz Vocalist Karen Maynard; Poet, Actor, Author, Educator, Tumani Jordan; Poet, Producer of "Prose & Poetry," at Dempsy Productions, Project Director, Small Business the Harlem Community Development Corporation, Earl Thomason; Poet, Author, Musician, “Edu-tainer,” and Founder of the Befo' Quotet Ensemble, Atiba Wilson; will all be part of a powerful line up of entertainers scheduled to present Soul Expressions of Love and Praise. People passing by will also be able to hear the performance as Love spills over and into the streets of Lenox Avenue. The event will take place on Thursday, August 10, 2023, between 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. It will take place at the ARC XVI A. Philip Randolph Senior Center located at 108 West 146th Street between Seventh and Lenox Avenues. The event is Free and Open to the Public. For more information contact Spirit in Sunset Productions at byojbringyourownjoy@aol.com or (917) 675-7255 or XVI A. Philip Randolph Senior Center at (212) 281-1349.

Part three and the finale event of “This Summer Harlem is Lit!” is entitled, “Ah, Sookie, Sookie, Now!” The program is a multimedia presentation in dance, visual art, song, supported with the elegant expressions of poetry, prose, in Poetic Self-Praise celebrating the iconic poem “Ego Tripping.” written by the legendary Poet and Writer, Ms. Nikki Giovanni. Ms. Nina Norwood will serve as Keynote Speaker for the evening and share one of her original poems. State Senator Cordell Cleare will also serve as keynote speaker. Mr. Ricardo Hernandez, Assistant Director, Programs and Partnerships, Poets & Writers, Inc. is also a confirmed Guest Speaker for the evening. Other elected officials have been invited to speak during the evening’s festivities. Among the brilliant Poets, Musicians, Performers, Actors, Writers, Vocalists, and Multi-disciplinary Artists presenting during the evening are Laura Bowman, Deirdre Brown, Donald Calliste, Lorraine Currelly, Jeannette Curtis, Michael Ealy, Renee’ Flemings, Perri Gaffney, Tumani Ra’inie Jordan, Karen Maynard, Ina Norris, Imani Parker, Lil Phillips, Hazel Smith, June Terry, Jeanette Toomer and Atiba Wilson. The artwork of Nikki Williams will be on display as a backdrop during the “Dance the Word Ministries.” Yvonne Coston choreographs the dance. Jazz Reed, choreographer, dancer, and Founder of MoHo Art and Well, will also present a dance performance honoring the poem and the theme of Self-Love. Other Creatives are expected to join the exciting roster of Artists scheduled to perform. To conclude the evening, the audience is invited to participate in a “Sookie-a-thon,” and share their own Affirmations of Self-Love at the end of the evening.

“Ah, Sookie, Sookie Now,” is being held on Thursday, August 24, 2023, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Interchurch Center located at 475 Riverside Drive in Harlem. ENTRY FOR THE EVENT IS LOCATED AT THE REAR: 61 Claremont Avenue. The Event is Free and Open to the Public. For more information contact Spirit in Sunset Productions (917) 675-7255 byojbringyourownjoy@aol.com or Contact The Interchurch Center (212) 870-2200 www.interchurchcenter.org for program and travel information.

Founded in 1970, Poets & Writers, Inc., is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers. Its mission is to foster the professional development of poets and writers, to promote communication throughout the literary community, and to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public. Each year, tens of thousands of poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers’ benefit from P&W’s programs, which include its eponymous magazine; a dynamic, information-rich website; financial support for readings and other literary events; and sponsorship of several notable writing prizes and awards. Poets & Writers, Inc., has paid writers fees for giving readings and leading workshops since 1970. Each year, we support more than 750 writers participating in over 2,000 literary events throughout New York State and California, as well as in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, Seattle, Tucson, and Washington, D.C. For more information about Poets & Writers, Inc., www.pw.org or (212) 226-3586.

Spirit in Sunset Productions has been producing new and innovating programs since 1990 and is proud to produce events that are considered as a series of “Firsts.” In 1990, the organization produced the first on-going, live, weekly radio show celebrating Artists of Color for WHCR Harlem Community Radio called “Artbeat of Harlem.” In 2010, it produced and hosted a “Langstonathon,” – a non-stop, three-hour, marathon reading of the poetry and prose written by Writer and Poet, Langston Hughes at Gallery M in Harlem. In 2014, (a month before her death), Spirit in Sunset Productions presented a similar program at the Saint Aloysius Church. Artists of Color of all disciplines and genres performed a non-stop reading of the works of Dr. Maya Angelou. An encore event was held in August of 2014 at Riverbank State Park. In 2021, an “Herstoric,” photoshoot featuring Women Artists of Color, fifty years of age and older, took place by the River’s Edge in Harlem. The oldest participant in the photoshoot was 91 years old, at the time of the event. That same year, Spirit in Sunset Productions launched a creative concept entitled, “B.Y.O.J. – Bring Your Own Joy!” Spirit in Sunset Productions has received Proclamations, Citations and Letters of Appreciation, for its outstanding work in the field of Arts and Culture from then Congressman Charles Rangel, Assembly Member Keith L.T. Wright, Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, the late State Senator Bill Perkins, then Council Member Mark Levine, then State Senator Brian Benjamin, as wellas current Council Member Inez Dickens, Assembly Member Al Taylor, State Senator Cordell Cleare, State Senator Robert Jackson and Congressman Adriano Espaillat. For more information about Spirit in Sunset Productions contact byojbringyourownjoy@aol.com or (917) 675-7255.

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