2016 Harlem Gala: Jazz it up

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2016 Harlem Arts Festival Gala. Harlem, NY. Photo Cr © 2016 Johnnie Alexander. All Rights Reserved

Mid March and the weather is cooperating as best as possibly can and the Alhambra Ballroom hosted the 5th annual Harlem Gala as a kick-off to the upcoming Harlem Arts Festival in June.

If you were lucky enough to be part of the event in 2015, then you know it was a night to remember – and that is why the decision was made to go back for another round on March 18, to meet and mingle with new people and a few of new and upcoming artists showcasing their work at the festival.

By the way, the Alhambra Ballroom is a historic icon landmark in Harlem that has hosting Malcolm X, jazz artists – Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and other performers- so why not return to the roots and highlight the Harlem Gala.

A reception started the flow of conversation with an open bar, delicious sushi, salad, among other finger-food selections while guests had the chance to bid on some great items including memorabilia from James Brown, music sheets from the late Natalie King Cole, Taylor Swift, Adele, autographed posters from the HBO Series – Game of Thrones among other items.

After a great dinner service, Braxton Cook, (Harlem emerging Saxophonist) Brianna Thomas (HAF’s vocalist winner/performer at the 1st Harlem Gala in 2012), highlighted amazing performances as Jarrett Key created a hair painting on site (which also became part of the items up for auction), followed by dancing the night away.

Congratulations to the following honorees:

Nikoa Evans-Hendricks: 2016 Lynette Velasco Community Impact Award.

-Founding board member and Executive Director of Harlem Park to Park (HP2P) – a neighborhood development organization cultivating local events such as the Food & Drink Blvd, Harlem Harvest Festival, Harlem Days Harlem Nights and more since 2009.

– The HP2P was recently selected as the charity for Marcus Samuelson’s Harlem EatUp Fest in Morningside Park.

Zipcar: contribution to creating and maintaining a safe and environmentally friendly space where Harlem locals can enjoy all that this neighborhood has to offer with arts and culture with works from artist Victor “Slone” Ramos and many others.

By the way, the award was designed by 2015 HAF Visual Artist – Deborah Omi Gray. Now, there is plenty of information celebrating upcoming events that are sure light up on your social agenda this Summer, however, to get more deets and how to donate to the HAF, click here.

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Howdy, The writer is in a monogamous relationship with living life to the fullest. A pleasure seeker, subscriber to adventure, and a part -time Ninja. In her spare time, she also contributes articles to the HuffPost. Cheers :-)