Singer-songwriter and syndicated radio host, Keith Sweat doesn’t just sing about love, he now writes about it too with the release of his relationship advice book, Make it Last Forever: The Dos and Don'ts. On Wednesday February 20th, the Harlem native will appear at MIST Harlem for a special book-signing event presented by Hue-Man Bookstore.
While promoting the event, Sweat reflected on his past, admitting that as a younger man he wasn’t always practicing healthy relationship behavior. “In the past there were trials and tribulations that had to do with infidelity. I talked at the person and should have talked to the person and handled things in a hot headed way and should have been calmer,” he reveals.
Now Sweat, declares that he has matured and is ready to share his wisdom. One of his key pieces of advises is to urge people to soul search before making a commitment. “I think I’m where I need to be now. I learned everybody should not be in a relationship and are not built for a relationship. You have to ask yourself am I built for this relationship and the person I'm with do we see things eye-to-eye?”
Let’s hope that your mate is compatible enough with you to enjoy Apollo Club Harlem, a throwback to Harlem's hottest clubs of the 30’s and 40’s, where jazz reigned supreme. Beginning Monday, modern jazz legend, Dee Dee Bridgewater will headline the event, which marks her debut performance at the Apollo Theater. While she is excited about bringing attention to the history of jazz, she is also concerned about the genre’s present and future state. “They say that jazz holds its own like classical music but it doesn’t enjoy the sales of pop music so record companies close down the [jazz] departments,” she notes. “There is no forward thinking about the music. If individual artists want larger exposure then they have to do it by working with people outside of the jazz world.”
While such collaborations have led to greater mainstream success for jazz artists such as Herbie Hancock, don’t expect Bridgewater to try that strategy on her next album, which will be all blues. “I’m pursuing my own direction and have to be true to my sprit and soul. I am investigating my lineage to go to Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee where I was born and try and get to know those areas and music,” she says. “I want to understand what my music is made up of and who I am.”
Disco music may not have yet received the same institutional recognition as jazz or classical music, but that’s not stopping Village Voice columnist Michael Musto from throwing a ‘70s Disco Extravaganza at 54 Below. It is likely that banter at the dance party will include Musto reminiscing about his days at the legendary club, Studio 54. As a teaser he shared with us an unpleasant but memorable encounter he had with openly gay disco icon, Sylvester. “I met Sylvester and interviewed him one night. I did not find him all that charming. He really had an attitude,” he says. “When I sat down to interview him he pulled out a recorder to record me at the same time. That was like saying ‘I don’t trust you.’ I was also told he doesn’t want to talk about who he sleeps with. I thought well this is a performer breaking ground but he doesn’t want to talk about it or not to me anyway. But I still worship him and the stuff he did.”
Before you put on your glittery outfit to hit the dance floor you may want to consider the following events. On Valentine’s Day join Ella Veres and her Transylvanian ArtVentures with activists around the world for ONE BILLION RISING, the largest day of action in the history of Valentine’s Day to end violence against women and girls here. Then on Saturday The LeRoy Neiman Art Center in Harlem will present a free screening of the documentary, The Central Park Five followed by a Q&A, open-mic poetry jam and art viewing here.
From Sweat’s new book to ONE BILLION RISING’s campaign, there’s more than one way to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year.
The Harlem Arts Alliance is a not for profit arts service organization celebrating 10 years of service to a prestigious list of members such as the Apollo Theater, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Columbia University, Harlem Stage (Aaron Davis Hall) and over 850 more cultural/arts institutions and individuals. The weekly column, Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture and entertainment scene in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company, Souleo