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Black Tie International:
Harlem Stage 2018 Annual Gala
Carolina Zapf and John Josephson- photo by Joe Russo
Carolina Zapf and John Josephson- Photo by: Joe Russo

Harlem Stage Presented its

2018 Annual Gala


Honoring Tamara Tunie, S. Epatha Merkerson and Matthew Whitaker


Featured Performances Led by Terri Lyne Carrington


Event Raised Over $385,000


Monday, May 21, 2018 at 6:00pm at Harlem Stage Gatehouse


WHO: Party guests included honorees Tamara Tunie (Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Blue Bloods),S. Epatha Merkerson (Chicago Med, Law and Order) and piano prodigy Matthew Whitaker, musical performances led by GRAMMY award-winning drummer, composer and bandleader Terri Lyne Carrington. Appearances by TONY, EmmyTV, film and stage actor Manu Narayan (Bombay Dreams, The Love Guru, My Fair Lady), TV actor Vondie Curtis-Hall (For The People, Daredevil), Vocalist and songwriter Somi; Jazz, Soul and R&B singer Charenee Wade. Guests included TONY nominated and Olivier Award Winner Noma Dumezweni (A Raisin in the Sun, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), TV and film actress Denise Burse (Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Black Mirror), Obie Award winning actor, director and writer Roger Guenveur Smith (Rodney King), Actress Lynn Whitfield, Singer and Activist Nona Hendryx, Playwright Lynn Nottage, Host of Deadline Crime Tamron Hall, MSNBC correspondent Joy-Ann Reid, President and CEO Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce Lloyd Williams, Manhattan Bureau President Gale Brewer, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Mitchell Silver, Councilmember Mark Levine, Head of Global Sports and Entertainment at ‎Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Drew Hawkins, Chairman/CEO of SESAC John Josephson, Vice President at Time Warner INC. Yrthya Dinzey-Flores, Laura Flanders host of The Laura Flanders show, fashion designer B Michael, Harlem Stage Executive Director Patricia Cruz and Director of Programming Monique Martin and Gala Co-Chairs Angela Glover Blackwell and Richard E. Feldman.


Other guests included: Al Williams, Carolina Zapf, Courtney and Marcus Lee-Mitchell, David Ludwigson, Gerri Warren-Merrick, Greg and Katie Williamson, Jason Reid, Jenette Kahn, JoAnn Chase, Karen Pearl, Kasi Lemmons, Laura Packer, Marva Hicks, Patricia Blanchet, Paula Cooper, Ron Simons, Scott Metzner, Simon and Stefany Bergson, Steven Greener, Theresa and James Bruno, Tony Gerber, Voza Rivers, Wé McDonald



WHAT: Harlem Stage hosted its annual spring Gala. Guests enjoyed musical performances in the historic and stunning Gatehouse, a New York City landmark built in 1890 which once served as a pivotal facility in the Croton Aqueduct system and was revitalized to serve as a state-of-the-art performance space. The theme of this year’s event was #Disrupters and paid tribute to artists as activists, creators and catalysts, and celebrated Harlem Stage’s 35th year as an institution known for commissioning and presenting new, innovative work that reflects and responds to the complex conditions that shape the lives of our audiences, artists and communities.


This year the event honored three individuals for their artistic contributions: Tamara Tunie, who also serves as Board President at Harlem Stage, S. Epatha Merkerson and piano prodigy Matthew Whitaker.


Proceeds from the gala will help support Harlem Stage's critical mission to exclusively commission and present works by visionary artists of color and the thousands of New York City schoolchildren Harlem Stage serves each year through the Frances Davis/Harlem Stage Arts Education Program.


Patricia Cruz, Executive Director, Harlem Stage said “Our #Disrupters Gala enables Harlem Stage and our artists to join together with our audiences, community and supporters in the contemporary struggle to realize a just, equitable and truly democratic society”


WHERE: Harlem Stage Gatehouse, 150 Convent Avenue (at West 135th Street)

WHEN: Monday, May 21, 2018



Harlem Stage is the performing arts center that bridges Harlem’s cultural legacy to contemporary artists of color and dares to provide the artistic freedom that gives birth to new ideas. For over 35 years Harlem Stage has been one of the nation’s leading arts organizations, achieving this distinction through its work with artists of color and by facilitating a productive engagement with the communities it serves through the performing arts. With a long-standing tradition of supporting artists and organizations around the corner and across the globe, Harlem Stage boasts such legendary artists as Harry Belafonte, Max Roach, Sekou Sundiata, Abbey Lincoln, Sonia Sanchez, Eddie Palmieri, Maya Angelou and Tito Puente, as well as contemporary artists like Bill T. Jones, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Tamar-kali, Vijay Iyer, Mike Ladd, Stew, Meshell Ndegeocello, Jason Moran, José James, Nona Hendryx and more. Its education program each year provides over 1,000 New York City children with introduction and access to the rich diversity, excitement and inspiration of the performing arts. In 2006, Harlem Stage opened the landmarked, award-winning Harlem Stage Gatehouse. This once abandoned space, originally a pivotal source for distributing fresh water to New York City, is now a vital source of creativity, ideas and culture. Harlem Stage is a winner of the William Dawson Award for Programming Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming (Association of Performing Arts Presenters).


For more information on Harlem Stage, visit:




Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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