Spike Lee honored at MoMA gala

Spike Lee honored at MoMA gala
Sherry Bronfman and Spike Lee/Photo credit: Scott Rudd

Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the ‘A’ w/Souleo

Iconic film director Spike Lee may be a man of few words in interviews but perhaps that’s because  his films do all the talking. And for those powerful films, Lee was honored at The Museum of Modern Art’s 2012 Jazz Interlude, where Harlemite Sherry B. Bronfman served as event chair. The black-tie affair also honored philanthropists Mera and Donald Rubell. The evening featured a benefit gala dinner and live performance by jazz musician Terence Blanchard, whose work has been featured in several of Lee’s films.


While Lee was the center of attention he was even more grateful to see the evening promote support for African American visual artists. “It was great to see so many people supporting African American artists. Hopefully, they [will] get more sponsors for black artists. I’m an artist so all of the arts inspire me,” he says.

It was about promoting more than just African American visual artists at the Strivers Gardens Gallery opening night reception for Caribbean Diasporas: Harlem Migration and Identity. Curated by Anderson M. Pilgrim the exhibition seeks to explore the influence of Caribbean artists on contemporary art and the interconnection between their Caribbean heritage and Harlem identity and experience. Some of the noted exhibiting artists include Diogenes Ballester, Nicolle Blackwood and Ademola Olugebefola. For Pilgrim this exhibition highlights the role Harlem plays as a crossroads for the Diaspora.


“I wanted to focus on the connection with Harlem and migration of immigrants,” he notes. “Harlem is a mecca for black people around the world, especially today. We see the cross section of humanity here in this place and Caribbean immigrants have made contributions to this community.”

Perhaps few things have done more to support the community of spoken word artists than the groundbreaking television show, “Def Poetry Jam.” Co-founded by Bruce George, Deborah Pointer and Danny Simmons, the series is celebrating its 10th anniversary. For the special occasion some of the stars from the original series reunited at MIST Harlem for an evening of poetry, politics and humor. Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets led a powerful call-and-response spoken word performance of “For the Millions.”

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