Hue-Man Opens With a Grand Celebration

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Grand opening celebration at the
Hue-Man Bookstore in Harlem.

Rapper Jay-Z with long line of fans.

Word … Rapper Jay-Z, singer Stevie Wonder, and actors Ruby Dee, Ozzie Davis, and Wesley Snipes came to show their support for New York's Hue-Man Bookstore in the Harlem USA mall, at the store’s high energy grand opening held on Thursday, August 1.

Partners Rita Ewing, Celeste Johnson (top, l. to r.) and Clara Villarosa (bottom, r.) with Jerryanne Heath of UMEZ.

Poet Maya Angelou provided a special dedication. The 4,000-square-foot store easily accommodated the enthusiastic staff and 200 invited guests who perused the shelves filled with a range of titles primarily by, or about, African Americans.

According to co-owner Rita Ewing, the store aims to have a close association with the Harlem community. Ewing, joined partner Celeste Johnson at the gala celebration. Clara Villarosa, former ABA Board member and founder of the independent Denver, Colorado Hue-Man Bookstore, is the third partner in the new store. Hue-Man, which is located in a major retail complex, received a $475,000 loan from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ) to help in the establishment of one of the largest African-American bookstores in the country in one of the largest African-American communities in the country.

Quoted in the Amsterdam News, Terry C. Lane, UMEZ president and CEO commented, "This bookstore represents the intersection of female entrepreneurship, economic development, and cultural production. The opening of Hue-Man Bookstore is further evidence that the new Harlem renaissance is well underway.

Staff at new Hue-Man Bookstore.

Other grand opening events included book signings by Walter Mosley, Michelle Andrea Brown, and Omar Tyree. Many other prominent African-American authors are slated to attend the bookstore over the next few months.

[To read more about the Hue-Man Bookstore, click here.]

--Photos by Benjamin Freed