The Bronx Music Heritage Center has announced its participation in the Evelina 100 campaign which will include a week-long calendar of events to celebrate the legacy of Evelina Antonetty. The celebrations commemorate what would have been the 100th birthday of Antonetty, a Bronx-based activist. , educator and lawyer born September 19, 1922. Known colloquially as “the mother of the Puerto Rican community” as well as “the infernal lady of the Bronx”, Antonetty founded United Bronx Parents and was instrumental in organizing Nuyorican communities around issues of education and inequality.
“Evelina and her impact are so important to the people of the Bronx,” said BMHC co-artistic director Elena Martinez. “She lifted spirits, fought discrimination and inspired generations of political awareness during the 20th century. We are thrilled to play a part in honoring her legacy through music, speech and community building.”
On September 12, there will be registration drives at city sites and campuses all day. At noon during the voter registration drive at Hostos Community College located at 500 Grand Concourse (near E. 149th St.), BMHC will feature a performance of traditional Puerto Rican music by Bobby Sanabria, Matthew Gonzalez, and Oxil Febles for support registration. drive to Hostos. Then, at 5 p.m., a concert will take place at the Bronx Music Hall Plaza located at 438 E. 163rd Street. Paying homage to Antonetty’s sign-up campaigns where she allegedly had music by legendary cuatrista Yomo Toro played to entice people to sign up, the evening’s concert will feature an all-female lineup of singers and musicians. performing songs they wrote as part of the BMHC exhibition “A Portrait of Persistence” which commemorated a century of women’s suffrage in the United States. Artists include Oxil Febles, Rae Da Vine, Sofia Tosello, Monica Meaux Hope, Antoinette Montague, Marilyn Castillo, Mikaela Curet, Francesca Lamantia, Bharati Kemraj and more! Our Quedamos will be holding a voter registration table during the concert.
Then, on Saturday September 17, as part of the Bronx Rising! series, BMHC will host Fort Apache Revisited, a day-long panel series and concert on the legacy of the protests in response to Paul Newman’s controversial 1981 film “Fort Apache, The Bronx.” The film was criticized and boycotted at the time for its racist portrayals of the borough’s black and Puerto Rican residents. This event will take place at BMHC (1303 Louis Nine Blvd) and is located near the site of the original compound. Antonetty was a leader in the protest movement against the film.
The first program will cost $7 at the door and the schedule is as follows:
12:00 p.m.: An acknowledgment of the land by George Stonefish, a Native community leader from the American Indian Community House and welcoming remarks by Bobby Sanabria and Elena Martinez of BMHC.
12:30 p.m.: Panel 1: Indigenous Perspectives on Fort Apache and the Politics of Sovereignty featuring artist Nadema Agard, writer David Bunn-Martine (AMERINDA) and Dr. Charles Venator-Santiago (University of Connecticut).
2:00 p.m.: Panel 2: Fort Apache: RESISTANCE will discuss resistance to the film from the perspective of Joe Conzo Jr. and Lourdes Torres, who protested the film alongside Evelina Antonetty.
Then at 5:00 p.m., the program will continue with a free concert at the Bronx Music Hall Plaza located at 438 E 163rd St:
5:00 p.m.: Concert at BMH Plaza with Bobby Sanabria & Aburé performing the music of the Fort Apache Band, some of whose members took part in the protests against cinema, to recognize the role of arts and culture in the resistance.
Events at the Bronx Music Hall plaza are free. For those unable to attend in person, a live stream will be available on the BMHC Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bxmusic/. For more information, call (917) 557-2354. For more information on Evelina 100 and the activities of the week: https://evelina100.org/
These events are just three of the many cultural events organized by the BMHC. BMHC’s Bronx Rising! The series is a multi-disciplinary series that brings the cultural riches of the Bronx, past and present, to life through music, comedy, Q&A film screenings, poetry readings and spoken word events. The Bronx Living Legends series commemorates contributors to the borough’s unparalleled musical legacy throughout the decades, from doo-wop to hip-hop to Latin jazz. The BMHC also offers classes and exhibits throughout the year illuminating the borough’s rich and diverse cultural heritages that are known the world over.
BMHC is operated by the non-profit Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco). Earlier this year, WHEDco received a $2.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to complete construction of Bronx Music Hall, which will be the future home of all BMHC programs when it opens. The 14,000 square foot music hall will be the first newly constructed music venue to open in the Bronx in more than half a century. It will offer a variety of flexible indoor and outdoor spaces for concerts, films, dance, live theater and spoken word events, as well as music and dance classes, serving 20,000 spectators and students in person every year at full capacity after the pandemic. .
For the past decade, BMHC programming has taken place primarily at BMHC Lab, a showcase space for WHEDco’s Intervale Green affordable housing development.