The late Percy E. Sutton, one of New York City’s most prominent political, civil rights and business leaders, will be honored at this year’s Harlem Fine Arts Show (HFAS), at the Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Avenue, Harlem, from February 7-10.
The four-day exposition, billed as the premier showcase of emerging and celebrated artists from the Black Diaspora, will add to an already impressive list of events and activities marking February as Black History Month (BHM) through the City and State.
“HFAS is proud to salute the life and legacy of Percy E. Sutton, an avid collector and patron of the arts, as we celebrate the rich cultural and artistic legacy of artists of African and Caribbean heritage,” according to Dion Clarke, HFAS founder.
The recognition for the iconic attorney turned politician and trend-setting entrepreneur, could not have come at a more opportune time for key members of the New York Caribbean community, who recalled the late Sutton’s tenacity as he set out to champion the cause of an emerging, minority community.
Attorney Jeff Barnes remembers the honorable Percy E. Sutton, legal representative for Malcolm X, as an exemplary African American and a role model.
“He not only talked the talk, but he also walked the walk. While some do only talking, he was a man of action who built Inner City Broadcasting-IBC (parent company of WLIB/WBLS Radio Stations, NYC).”
“Those were the only stations serving our community at the time (1970s). If you wanted to get the word out, there were no two ways about it then”, recalled Conroy Allison, an account executive with IBC, now host of the Winner’s Circle, a one hour, magazine program heard weekdays (11a-12p) on WVIP, 93.5 FM.
Barnes, an outstanding broadcaster himself, Allison, Ken Williams, Frankie Crocker (deceased) and John Melbourne (Caribbean Cup Soccer), were all influenced by Mr. Sutton.
“He never saw it as beneath himself to talk to anybody. He was someone who could (and did) walk with kings and not loose the common touch”, noted Allison.
Michael Escoffery, a Jamaican born visual artist whose work has been published in over 70 books worldwide and in 9 languages, will line up alongside the featured artists, including Dane Tilghman, George Nock, Margerine Gordon and Woodrow Nash.
Thursday’s opening night salute to Hon. Percy E. Sutton, a 6:00 pm scheduled start, will be led by the cast of “Mama, I Want to Sing,” and “Motown: The Musical,” with proceeds benefiting The Mama Foundation, a unit dedicated to present, preserve and promote gospel, jazz and R & B arts.
Other events on the schedule include; Youth Empowerment Day (February 8), Motown Night – Tribute to Berry Gordy (February 8), Fine Arts Exhibition (February 9/10) and an Ecumenical Service (February 10).