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Langston Hughes

Oscar Brown, Jr.

Eubie Blake

March 5, 2004

Black History Month Celebrated With Music

Equity's Equal Employment Opportunity Committee, in conjunction with The Actors' Fund and Local 802, American Federation of Musicians, held a rousing musical tribute to the artistic genius of Langston Hughes, Eubie Blake and Oscar Brown, Jr. in Harlem on My Mind at the Little Shubert Theatre on February 23, 2004.

Utilizing the talent of pianist/vocalist Genovis Albright, along with a quintet of instrumentalists, musical numbers written by each of the three honorees were performed. The evening's co-hosts, and co-chairs of the EEO Committee, Julia Breanetta Simpson and Christine Toy Johnson, spoke of the historical importance of Hughes and Blake, including the fact that the former helped found a number of theatre companies in addition to writing over 20 plays and writing a large body of poetry, while the latter produced and wrote Shuffle Allng, the first African-American produced musical on Broadway.

Mr. Brown, noting with irony that he was being honored by Equity, the union to which he once belonged and with which he had a decades old tenuous relationship, led the band in a moving rendition of his song, Serenade the World.

The culmination of the evening was a special tribute to the artistry of Al Hirschfeld, given by Louise Hirschfeld, to commemorate the re-release of Hirschfeld's Harlem, which is filled with delightful pictures of the Harlem artists and personalities throughout the 20th century. Special autographed copies of the book were presented to both Equity and The Actors' Fund.

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