Hi Steppers Show Some Swag In Harlem

19 Sep


      Technology is great when it can bridge the old and the new together. This past Sunday I was looking for parking in Harlem and I had my smartphone locked in Tune In Radio and playing it over the car speakers a little louder than normal. There’s a UK station, Stomp radio, that plays soulful house music that keep you moving. I was getting into a house groove when the I Have A Dream speech was laced over a new track. It couldn’t have been more fitting as I was getting ready for the 43rd annual African American Day Parade on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.  I was born just a few days after the most famous speech of the 20th century and have always used it as a guiding principle. Walking over towards the parade route, I noticed the revitalization in pockets of Harlem but there’s still a long way to go…much like in this country. In the back of my mind, I wondered how Dr. King would have liked to see the community celebrate the culture, music and food. As always for this parade, those that have recently passed are remembered on a float with tombstones before the rest of the marchers make their way up the parade route to 133rd St. The crowd was then treated to the marching band from Cheney University, the nation’s oldest historically Black institution of higher education. This years parade Grand Marshalls included  David Paterson, David Dinkins,  Rev. Al Sharpton , Dr. Adelaide Sanford , Congressman Charles Rangel,  William Thompson and Lillian Roberts.

     One of the best things to see in this parade is the community all gets together to put out the word of constructive meaningful causes. Higher education, social services, voter registration, labor unions are all important in keeping the community together and helping to make a meaningful contribution. The Camden HS Marching Band helped the crowd get ready for the many groups of hi steppers from Baltimore, Maryland. Dynasty Marching Unit kicked it off but the were quickly outclassed by the Baltimore Westsiders Marching Band. Holding their own was some local talent in the Approaching Storm High Stepping Marching Band from Brooklyn.  One of the best treats came from the Local Union 11 99 SEIU float with guest band GQ playing some classic hits. The marchers showed their support for Barack Obama with creative tshirts and banners and often chanting 4 more years or  chanting Obama….Obama…Obama.  Doug E Fresh showed up on the turntables and get the crowd worked up. Many other high steppers arrived from Baltimore and locally. The Baltimore GoGetters were really good. Closing out the parade as they do every year was a treat for young and old alike. The black Cowboys and Cowgirls showed their horse tricks to the crowd and let the young kids touch the horses. All in all it was a good parade for all those of all nationalities and races that made their way to Harlem. Looking at the crowd one got a sense of togetherness and unity. Yes, Dr. King would have smiled.


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