Singers, dancers, musicians and public officials celebrated Black History Month at a special event at Queensborough Community College’s Performing Arts Center in Bayside on Feb. 2. It was a time to remember African-American leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
“This has been an historic time for people of color,” City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) said in a prepared statement. “Having just witnessed President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, we must take this time to reflect on where we came from, envision where we are headed, and celebrate those who sacrificed so much.”
There were performances by entertainers such as Crystal Smith, the Edge School of Arts Dance Troupe, Randolph Smith, Joe’s Music School Orchestra, students from PS 176, the St. Albans Baptist Church Dancers, Ada Peppers and James Baynard of the Crown Heights Affair. The master of ceremonies was attorney Donald Clarke.
WBLS personality, historian and radio pioneer Bob Slade gave the keynote address, during which he spoke about the first black-owned record label, Vee-Jay records. While the company made most of its money by releasing some of the first songs by The Beatles in the United States, it also released albums by performers such Jerry Butler, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Betty Everett and The Four Seasons.