Day one in Harlem, New York.

Day one. It’s thirty minutes into Monday. The woman next to me crosses her self  and closes her eyes as the plane lands. Touch down.  While a haggle of New York Jewish guys negotiate with a taxi driver I slip by and get in another cab to The Sugar Hill Harlem Inn. It’s a converted brownstone that keeps its history with pride.   It’s near midnight. I take a walk round the block  find a deli and a  coffMotheree. New York. I have arrived and by 1am I’m asleep.

I’m awake at  six thirty am. With blurry eyes I catch the subway to midtown to meet my mother (pic on right) at Le Pain Quotidient. I’ve met her about twenty times through twenty five years. I ask her because I had to  “did it happen”.  She tells me things she never told before. I’ve asked before but I’ll never ask again.  It did happen. She tells me things I can’t say here about how difficult it is to talk of it. She’s fun and I’m fun when I’m with her. It’s as good as it gets and I can’t ask for more.

Come noon with all this in mind  I meet with Natasha and James,  Tigerlilly’s producer and director respectfully. I tag along as they hunt locations in Harlem.  Then we check in to Sylvia’s for lunch. Sylvia’s is a Harlem institution.  Next we drop by The Shrine to meet Abiodun Oyewole  Baba Tunde and Umar Bin Hassan – The last Poets.  It’s a warm meeting. We catch up. We  connect the dots and go through the next days shoot. Months ago Natasha at Tigerlilly asked if I wanted to do random acts after the success of the ones we’d previously done.  Working with the last poets was what I wanted to do. They’ve made it happen.  Here we are now. Tomorrow will be their gig in Harlem and my first. I’m new here.

The Last Poets

Photo: l to r Umar Bin Hassan, Abiodun Oyewole Babatunde and me.

7 thoughts on “Day one in Harlem, New York.

  1. I can see now where you get your good looks from. She is a very beautiful woman. I hope ur time in NYC is all you hope for and more.

    Mae x

  2. Your story in TED touched my soul and make me cry and lough at the same time. Your are adorable and so brilliant!!. I´m an adopted mother of a daughter and a son (siblings) and I am so deeply in love with them. I´m from Argentina and here there are so many rules to complete and adoption and I think it´s right. Might you have been my son! Love you and best wishes for you.
    Sorry about my english.

  3. Dear Lemn, what a story man!!! Just amazing…what can I say? I dug deep in to almost every archives…where u made me lough, amused…confused…and mostly shades of my tears..
    Your a brave man…I truly believe,,,u must be one of the few strongest individuals on the face of the glob with such a perseverance
    You are an inspirational person for millions…be it in Addis, or in a western world…I would one day sit in front and listen your sensational poems 🙂

    Much love,

  4. Dear Lemn,

    I saw you on BBC Hard Talk. I was so thrilled to listen to you that I immediately did an internet search to know more about you. I just find out that you are the son of a great African sister and my former UN colleague Yema.
    My name is Yassine Fall, Economist
    I am now retired. I was the Director of the Economic Empowerment Division living back home.
    Give my warm greetings to your mom.
    We really used to have great talks. She loved my Senegalese outfits

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