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When “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels join Hazel Dukes, Chris Rock, Stacey Adams, Spike Lee and Terence Blanchard on Nov. 1 they will not be chorusing the phrase ‘live from New York it’s Saturday Night.’
For starters the cast to assemble comprise a musician, film director, comedian, politician and not the usual group of not for prime time television thespians revered for presenting irreverent comedy and the date will be on a Monday not on the weekend.
Actually, the diverse gathering will celebrate Rev. Al Sharpton, his launch of the National Action Network 30 years ago and the 67th anniversary of his birth in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
Although the civil rights advocate was born on Oct. 3 a decision to combine the milestone achievements trumped separate festivities to mark the belated commemoration.
Billed ‘A Celebration Above All,’ the celebrity-slated event will be held at Carnegie Hall where the acoustics are unrivalled and seats will be at a premium.
The author of five books — “Rise Up,” “Al On America,” “Go And Tell Pharoah,” “The Rejected Stone” and most recently “Righteous Troublemakers” Sharpton retraces his ability to reach broad audiences to his youth when he preached sermons at age 12.
Admittedly he championed causes then and organized groups.
He attributed his dedication to being a disciple of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr and in his name championed many causes.
In time he founded NAN, the Harlem-based, activist organization renowned for protesting injustices, police brutality, feeding the needy, hosting of political forums, lecture series, defying racism and confronting challenging situations here and abroad.
Often considered controversial, throughout the years he has shepherded a flock echoing a chant “No Justice, No Peace.”
Once his trademark message, the definitive warning has been co-opted throughout the nation and in 2020 was internationally repeated in demonstrations against numerous issues.
At the turn of the century, NAN led by Sharpton tackled the leadership of General Raoul Cedras in Haiti while Jean Bertrand Aristide was forced into exile.
He traveled to Port-au-Prince, confronted the leader at the Palace with demands to vacate the government.
Similarly, Sharpton faced off against the US government demanding an end to bombings in Vieques, Puerto Rico.
He has been jailed many times but made political bids for a seat in the senate, NYC mayor and president of the United States.
Sharpton’s reputation has also been marked by his association with a myriad of entertainment icons.
From singers Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Michael Jackson to rap mogul Sean Combs and movie director Lee, the Baptist minister has endeared the friendships of sports and entertainment greats.
He eulogized funeral rites for both Jackson and Brown.
His eulogizes have become a highlight of nationally broadcasted services due to his ability of combining explanations of the ills of society while pacifying the pain from loss and grief. His message was instrumental at the funerals of George Floyd, Andrew Brown, Daunte Wright and numerous victims of police brutality and racial strife.
Sharpton featured in Lee’s “Bamboozled” and since then has invited the Brooklyn filmmaker to guest on his weekend MSNBC television ‘Politics Nation.’
The celebrations begin at 7:30 pm and will be highlighted by a presentations of the Triumph Award to Blanchard who made history recently for his compositions at the Met.
SNL creator, Michaels, NAACP President Dukes and Viacom CBS Exec. Marva Smalls will also receive 30th anniversary awards.
Special remarks from Rock, Abrams and Lee will round out the celebrations.
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