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When I was 17, I worked in a mentoring program in Harlem designed to improve the community. That's when I first gained an appreciation of the Harlem Renaissance, a time when African-Americans rose to prominence in American culture. For the first time, they were taken seriously as artists, musicians, writers, athletes, and as political thinkers.
You must understand as a kid of color in those days, the Harlem Globetrotters were like being movie stars.
After I'd been in college for a couple years I'd read Shakespeare and Frost and Chaucer and the poets of the Harlem Renaissance. I'd come to appreciate how gorgeous the English language could be. But most fantasy novels didn't seem to make the effort.
It doesn't do good to open doors for someone who doesn't have the price to get in. If he has the price, he may not need the laws. There is no law saying the Negro has to live in Harlem or Watts.
I bought a house in the Hollywood Hills and brought my grandmother from Harlem to live in it with me.
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Everybody says 'Good Morning' in Harlem because it's true! And that's lovely.
Marcia Gay Harden
I think probably one of the coolest things was when I went to play basketball at Rucker Park in Harlem. First of all, who would think that Larry the Cable Guy would go to Harlem to play basketball? And I was received like a rock star. It was amazing! There were people everywhere. There were guys walking by yelling, 'Git 'r done!'
Larry the Cable Guy
I had seen the photographs of Harlem in its glory days, stylish men in bespoke suits, women so well dressed that they'd put the models in 'Vogue' to shame. I knew that Harlemites loved to dance, to pray, and to eat.
I was born in Harlem, raised in the South Bronx, went to public school, got out of public college, went into the Army, and then I just stuck with it.
The thing that surprised me the most is just how much money women that weren't rich were paying for their hair. When you're in a beauty parlor in Harlem next to abandoned buildings and somebody's paying five grand for a weave, that's a bit much.
I don't have to really be in the 60s. Every time I hail a cab in New York, and they pass me by and pick up the white person, then I get a dose of it. Or when they don't want to take you to Harlem. I grew up with that.
Harlem is not a playground for rich bankers and consultants. It's got students of all colors. It's got old people who keep history and tell tall tales.
I'm engaged in food on so many levels, and I love that. So my work, my craft, is around food, and writing is one aspect of it; communicating a narrative, cooking online is one aspect of it; solving the food chasm that we have in Harlem and finding a farmers market is another one, and all of them are equally exciting for me.
What makes Harlem special is that at any given time, food seekers can not only find food deeply rooted in Southern, Latin and African traditions, but also can taste the newer Senegalese, Chinese, and Italian influences as well.
Finding creative and effective ways to simultaneously give back and economically empower people is something that is increasingly important. Not everyone can open a business and directly create jobs in the way that we have at Red Rooster Harlem.
You white folks see UFOs in your dreams. You don't hear about Martians in Harlem.
It's about stories. If I can tell the story to America, whether it's Riesling or a boxer from Harlem, it will sell. I know on my gravestone it's going to be, 'Storyteller.'
Blacks commit murder eight times more per capita than any other group in our society. If I had put all of my police officers on Park Avenue and none in Harlem, thousands and thousands more blacks would've been killed during the eight years that I was mayor.
In Harlem, I got all my black friends. But when I go downtown, I got black, white, Asian, Indian friends. There's no borders, no barriers.
For me, growing up in Harlem and then migrating down to SoHo and the Lower East Side and chillin' down there and making that my stomping ground... That was a big thing, because I'm from Harlem, and downtown is more artsy and also more open-minded. So I got the best of both worlds.
You grow up in America and you're told from day one, 'This is the land of opportunity.' That everybody has an equal chance to make it in this country. And then you look at places like Harlem, and you say, 'That is absolutely a lie.'
'Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream' is an intentionally angry film. How could it not be when the chance of an infant dying is five times greater on the Bronx Park Avenue than on Manhattan's Park Avenue just across the Harlem River?
I haven't seen a professional player come out of New York in over 20 years since my brother Patrick came out. Blake spent a few years in Harlem, but he moved to Connecticut when he was a kid.
It was a pretty rough neighborhood where I grew up The really tough places were over around Third Avenue where it ran into the Harlem River, but we weren't far away.
Michael Ralph brilliantly plays the street prophet, a West Indian who foreshadows the Harlem riot.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
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