Meet The Red Harlem Readers — Red Harlem Readers — AAPEX

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Meet The Red Harlem Readers

From l to r: Jawanza Bakari, Zay Pierre Louis, Jr., Kybali Craig read “The Passage: Stories from the Maafa” by Jawanza Bakari.

The Red Harlem Readers (RHR) is dedicated to provide a venue for established and new writers and actors; as well as to engage the community in the literary arts through concert readings of plays, poetry, essays and short stories. The discussion that follows intends to provide a stimulating atmosphere of networking and further collaboration.

As told to us by our neighbors "RED HARLEM" became a joking way, among Indian people who lived here 30-40 yrs. ago, to describe an active and thriving Native American community between 106th and 110th including Morningside Heights. The Red Harlem Readers takes its name from those Native American people who lived and worked in this neighborhood.

RHR was co-founded in May 2007 by Richard Gaffield, Cordis Heard and Laurence Holder because they felt the need to provide a space where writers could hear works they were developing before interested and involved audiences. Ronald Wyche became an associate in the early Fall of that year and has been a very important contributor of weekly events, talent and audience. We've been reading poems, plays, screenplays, essays and novels almost every Sunday since; that's 67 pieces the first year and 20 pieces so far this season. Laurence left last summer to start another reading space further uptown.

The Indian Cafe on Broadway between 107th and 108th is a natural fit. The bar area on any given night offers challenging discussion and the Sunday afternoon readings with discussion following is a logical offshoot. One of the owners, Chander Malik is a NYC bollywood film producer and very generous with their staff and Indian spiced tea. We started reading around tables in the smaller loft area and the owners suggested we move the readings to the larger enclosed sidewalk cafe area. We've read the plays of Edward Albee, Anton Chekov, Laurence Holder, Elaine Jackson, Henry D. Miller, Owa, Lanford Wilson and Ronald Wyche. Poetry by Jawanza Bakari, Count Stovall and Sonia Sanchez has been read by the authors and Elain Graham, Yaa Asantewa, Jacqueline Gregg and many many others.

From l to r: Co-director Ronald Wyche, M. Ndigo Washington and Jawanza work on the introductions.

To participate as writer, director, actor reader and/or arts administrator, please email us:

Co-directors: Richard Gaffield, Ronald Wyche
Associates: Debi Frame, Anne Geffel, Cordis Heard

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