Lincoln Center’s “Soul At The Center” Aims To Bring Black Music, Art & Culture To The Masses
It was almost 50 years ago this month that a revolutionary concert series brought the Black Experience to New York City’s Lincoln Center for the very first time.
It was back in 1972 when “Soul at the Center” brought the likes of Ike & Tina Turner, Labelle, Nina Simone and Donny Hathaway along with an Africana themed fashion show, a hair braiding demo and a book installation from civil rights activist Lewis H. Michaux’s Harlem book store.
And now, “Soul At The Center” has been revived as a one night only concert to showcase Black music, art and culture. The free concert July 24 will happen once again at the legendary Manhattan venue and feature both established artists like the Last Poets, along with up and coming artists like R&B singer Baby Rose and queer pop group Illustrious Blacks.
The event will close with singer Lalah Hathaway paying musical tribute to her father, who headlined the very same concert 47 years ago.
“This show was created with the idea of bringing black culture – the full range of it – to Lincoln Center,” said organizer Melissa Haizlip, the niece of the show’s founder, Ellis Haizlip.
She added: “Donny Hathaway also appeared in the original ‘Soul at the Center’ in 1972, so it’s truly remarkable that Lalah Hathaway is honoring her father by singing his music almost 50 years later in our ‘Soul at the Center’ concert at Lincoln Center.”
Haizlip said she hopes that “Soul at the Center” can become an annual tradition.
“It’s really a reminder of how important the African-American Experience is,” she said. “And our stories still need to be told – and now more than ever.”