HARLEM, Manhattan — Harlem Week came to an end on Sunday, but the energy was still high on W. 135th Street where the final performances took place.
The annual event celebrates the culture and diversity of the neighborhood and is also a chance to highlight local artists and businesses.
As we are on the other side of the pandemic, the theme of this year’s Harlem Week is ‘Rebirth, Rebuild, and Rejoice.’
Hundreds of people were out on the streets enjoying the culture and performances. There were also some special guests on the last day, including former Congressman Charles Rangel who was warmly welcomed on stage.
“There’s one thing that I’ll never be able to forget and that’s the spirit and love that we have for Harlem,” Rangel said. “Public officials, mayors, governors, presidents go and come but Harlem keeps on keeping on and I just love to be here.”
Khalea Washington is enjoying her time outside after being cooped up.
“For someone like myself who’s pretty much been confined because of the quarantine, to be able to come out, to be in the energy, to support people who I know deserve our support and get something is just wonderful,” Washington said.
While the neighborhood may be changing due to gentrification, the heart and soul of the community remains the same.
There were also conversations on topics ranging from racism to health and entertainment.
Vendor Sharif Allen was doing well and was proud to be there.
“I love the fact that this energy is shared amongst our people and shared amongst other nationalities and other races,” Allen said. “We give of ourselves so that people can know of us and what we can do and what we can bring.”
This past week celebrated children, sports, food and shopping. There were were also COVID-19 testing sites and mobile vaccine vans.
L. Ade Williams, a Harlem Week board member, said there was something for everyone of all ages.
“I love my community and Harlem Week is like a family reunion and a concert and a class and a seminar all at once,” Williams said. “It’s everything that you want.”
Although this is the last day of Harlem Week, they still have virtual events that you can participate in for the rest of the month.