Yesterday, I decided to ring up my mom and see if she was interested in attending a screening of a documentary film about Harlem with me. The film is called "Changing Face of Harlem" and it was directed and produced by my neighbor (and friend) Shawn Batey.
Mom said yes and we decided that we would meet at the venue, which was All Souls Episcopalian Church on St. Nicholas Avenue. I selected a cute pair of summer slacks in a black/white/yellow print that I had recently copped from an Ashley Stewart Sample Sale and I paired that with a yellow v-neck tee shirt and my old reliable pewter sandals. Mom arrived via taxi all done up in pale pink and white.
We made our way to the basement (mom rode the lift and I walked down carrying her walker) and took our seats. The film which I think was a little over an hour long covered the early beginnings of Harlem and her heyday, the white flight, the heroin years and eventually the black flight during the crack cocaine years. It brought us all the way up to 2012 when the film ended with the battle to keep the culture and the color in Harlem and the eventual gentrification that's happening currently.
After the film there was a lively discussion about what we watched and how folks felt about what they viewed and what is happening today. There was quite a bit of diversity in the group that viewed the film with us and the Q&A segment was most enjoyable for both me and my mom. It's a really great film and if you get a moment, please try to get out and see it, I guarantee you will enjoy it. Check out their website for info on upcoming screenings and dvd information here: http://changingfaceofharlem.com/
Nice work Shawn! Thanks for inviting us, i'm glad I could finally make it!
Here is the trailer for the film:
Mom was getting antsy because she was hungry so we decided to make our way outside to look for a place to eat. We narrowed our choices down to Amy Ruth's and Billie's Black. My mom had never been to Billie's Black before so I suggested she try something new because I have been frequently and I always enjoy myself there.
The owner Adriane Ferguson was outside when our taxi pulled up and she greeted us with a smile and a hug once we got seated. My mom remembered her instantly from us all being seated at the same table at Eda Francois & Crystal Smith's wedding reception last September. We also passed on our condolences as we had learned just before arriving that she (Adriane) had recently lost her father.
We chatted for a few moments and then she had to leave. We decided to go with the Sampler Platter with a side of mac & cheese and collard greens and the Ox Tails. I am really funny about potato salad (not everyone makes it in a manner that I find to be edible) so I asked our server if I could have a spoonful to taste....(I have done this many times in the past when potato salad is on the menu and I NEVER have a problem with the chef allowing me to taste it first rather wasting a whole order by sending it back because I don't like it). This did not happen on this particular occasion and I will only say that this particular chef/cook absolutely ruined our dining experience with her horrible attitude and I will leave it at that.
After we paid our bill, we caught a taxi to the Bronx where we chatted for a bit, I made sure mom was comfortable and resting then I made my way back to Manhattan via the bus (I LOVE the bus y'all....don't ask me why....I just do!) as I was waiting for the connecting bus to take me home, I got a text from my friend Tonya alerting me that she was in my hood and I should come by and get a plate of food and birthday cake from Make My Cake to take home. So I took a taxi over to 136th Street and met Tonya at the most FABU townhouse near the Schomburg Museum. I met her family, had a nightcap and hung out for bit..... all the while salivating over of all things....their refrigerator (don't ask). Tonya dropped me off at home where I had a glass of Sweet Red and wound up watching James Bond movies until about 2am....when I finally made myself go to sleep.
It was a great Saturday afternoon and I love hanging out with my mama!