Teyana Taylor, Money Long, Belle Biff Dave, Fat Joe, Coco Jones, Cam’ron and Doug E. Fresh are among the legacy and contemporary artists who will perform at the Harlem Festival of Culture (HFC). Hip-hop legend MC Lyte will host the opening event on Randall’s Island on July 28-30.
The performers for the three-day festival also include Adam Blackstone, Eric Bellinger, Josie, Major, Ma Dollar, Remy Ma, Roo James, Tink and Wyclef Jean. Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Estelle curates Dancehall LinkUp, which features specials by Sister Nancy, Nadine Sutherland, Wayne Wonder, Lumidi, Ruby, Sirani, and Mr. Kyla. In partnership with the famous Apollo Theatre, HFC will also present intimate music events. This lineup, along with additional festival details, will be announced in early June.
In this inaugural year, we have been very thoughtful and deliberate in building an amazing lineup that aptly reflects the incredibly unique legacy inherent in Village Harlem as well as the breadth and brilliance of Black music and culture. Co-founder, art and talent producer Yvonne McNair at the ad release. “Ultimately, HFC is our love letter to Harlem, and we are excited to develop it into a landmark cultural experience that encapsulates all the things that make Uptown the nexus of innovation and cultural expression and a true place to build community.”
HFC Creative Director and Michael L. Bivins of Bell Biv DeVoe added, “I worked closely with Yvonne and the team to build something very special and unique for this community character, and to see it now come to fruition is an incredible feeling. So much time in Harlem and have supported local businesses in the neighborhood for many years, I’m so proud to be a part of the inaugural Harlem Festival of Culture.”
Additional HFC offerings will include interactive art installations, a culinary court, and Mart 125. The latter is a reimagining of the famous economic hub of Harlem for the black-owned businesses that used to be located on 125th Street. Powered by SheaMoisture, the contemporary edition will showcase Black-owned hospitality, retail, and cultural projects based in Harlem.
Joining SheaMoisture and Apollo as HFC presenting sponsors are Infiniti, AMC Networks, Shark Beauty, Steve Madden and Northwell Health. Speaking of Madden, the company and HFC will be launching a range of co-branded merchandise for the festival. Created by Harlem-based visual artist DaQuane CherryAnd The limited edition set will include a custom Steve Madden Bettyy Boot, a belt bag and a denim jacket.
Festival organizers also worked in conjunction with the HFC Music Advisory Board, which was co-chaired by Wyclef Jean and Recording Academy executive director Harvey Mason Jr. Board members include Dodge E. Fresh and MC Lite.
“This will be a unique cultural experience that I believe will become a tremendous force in the festival space,” Mason said. Festival host Lyte added, “As a native New Yorker, I am honored to host the first Harlem Festival of Culture. [HFC] I’ve planned something special that I think everyone — whether they’re nearby, across the country, or around the world — will enjoy.”
As the countdown to July begins, HFC will present its second annual Black Independence Award (June 17). The awards honor the influential cultural, social, and economic contributions made by Harlem leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, and creators. The 2023 nominees and special award recipients will be announced in early June.
The Harlem Festival of Culture was inspired by the groundbreaking Harlem Culture Festival of 1969 – the focus of the Academy Award-winning documentary Summer of the soul Directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. Harlem Festival of Culture tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit the festival website.