Before Citizen Kane and The War of the Worlds, leading Broadway actress Rose McClendon and producer John Houseman convince a gifted but untested 20-year-old Orson Welles to direct Shakespeare’s Macbeth with an all-Black cast in Harlem.
Reimagined in a Haitian setting, this revolutionary 1936 production, which came to be known as “Voodoo Macbeth,” was fraught with cast/director clashes – particularly between Orson and Rose – who played Lady Macbeth – over everything from scene blocking to crew hires. A larger, political storm also lingered nearby with Washington figures looking to shut down “communist propaganda.”
The movie ‘Voodoo Macbeth’ which came out a few weeks ago, is based on this amazing true story of a young Orson Welles directing the first production of “Macbeth” with an all-Black cast.
The movie “Voodoo Macbeth” somehow acquired a whopping ten directors and eight writers and controversially includes some difficult subject matter, including Orson Welles performing in blackface.
According to one of the directors, Orson Welles did indeed put on blackface and go onstage during one of his productions. The team decided to put the spotlight on the justified outrage that ensued rather than center the scene on Welles or excuse his actions.
Urban Archive has a great article from Landmark East Harlem on the Mount Morris (Turkish) Baths that were located at the corner of 125th and Madison:
Tonight HNBA will have our new Community Affairs Officer [Troycarra Powers] from the 25th Precinct attend our HNBA meeting to answer any concerns you have about public safety and the rise in crime in our community.
In addition, Tatiana from https://womenscja.org/ will be joining to talk about their effort to convert Lincoln Jail (on Central Park North) into a women’s jail.
We will also have Wil Lopez (a candidate for State Assembly) and Tony Shaw (a Harlem-based financial advisor) introduce themselves.
Kioka Jackson, the president of the 25th Precinct’s Community Council writes:
Good Afternoon Neighbors and Friends, I hope you all are doing great. I wanted to invite you to join us IN PERSON for our February 2022 meeting. I have been getting a multitude of calls and emails about the current events in and around our neighborhood and want to invite you to discuss what’s going on, what is being done, and how we can help. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss your public safety concerns with the Commanding Officer, his team of Officers, along with other community stakeholders with the mission to make our neighborhood safe. Please be advised that the meeting will not be at the Precinct. In order to have the ability to safely socially distance we are using a space that can accommodate a larger number of people. Details are as follows.
Wednesday, February 16, 20226:00 PM (Meeting will begin on time)at Bethel Gospel Assembly 2-26 East 120th Street (Between Madison and Fifth) – right across from Marcus Garvey Park You will be required to wear a mask. There will be some available at the front door if you need one. Upon arrival, your temperature will be taken and you will be asked to sign in before being directed to the meeting room. Please click on the link and fill the questionnaire by Wednesday at 3:00PM. https://forms.gle/y8icpU7NYm2Q56sH8
Hope to see you all next week.
Have an awesome day
The Gay Harlem Renaissance
Scholars of the Harlem Renaissance point out that acknowledging the queer culture and nightlife of the Harlem Renaissance is essential in order to paint a full picture of the time, queer history, and Harlem itself.
Additionally, looking at the thriving LGBTQ+ scene in Uptown New York helps to reveal rich cultural contributions by (frequently) overlooked queer artists and writers of the Harlem Renaissance.