ImageNation_crowd1
On what might have been the sleepy Monday night after a long and lazy 4th of July weekend, ImageNation woke Harlem up with the second installment of  I AM ImageNation: The 13th Annual ImageNation Outdoor Film and Music Festival.

The crowd arrived at Marcus Garvey Park early and was prepared to stay late – many even walked with dinner. Nearly 1000 attendees settled in to enjoy a soul-stirring live performance by Les Nubians, danceable world music mixes by DJ Eddie Ed, and a two-hour screening of Half of a Yellow Sun (a star-studded film based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel). The mood was such that it  hardly felt like a Monday. It seemed the entire neighborhood was in the bleachers.

ImageNation founder, Moikgantsi Kgama enthusiastically welcomed the crowd and announced #ILoveSoulCinema – the new campaign, launched on Rocket Hub this same day, to raise funds for the transformation of ImageNation’s Raw Space (Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd. between 121st & 122nd Streets) into a 60 seat theater and cultural hub known as Soul Cinema. This evening’s line-up of progressive entertainment serves as a prime example of what Soul Cinema is, and the type of programming ImageNation will feature in its revamped digs.ImageNation-Greg I Love Soul Cinema

The campaign is open through August 28, 2015, with a goal of raising $35,000 in donations ranging from $5-$10,000. “Online fundraising is a great way to involve the community in the next stage of our development,” said Kgama. “Our goal is to leverage the social capital we have built through more than 15 years of quality cinema-arts programming, by asking people to support media that represents us and our stories.”

Les Nubians took a moment during their performance to express their campaign support, stressing the importance of “owning our own narratives.” Michaela Angela Davis, who sits on ImageNation’s advisory board, pointed out the organization’s unique position to right the imbalances in mainstream media. In a promotional video, shown before the feature film, Director Lee Daniels and HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill both extolled the merits of the project. 1000 strong in the stands couldn’t have agreed more, and filed out of the park after 11pm, simply thinking and feeling, “I Love Soul Cinema!”

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ImageNation-Moikgantsi with Les Nubians
To watch the #ILoveSoulCinema promotional video and donate, please visit: http://www.rockethub.com/projects/50446-imagenation-s-soul-cinema-cafe.  ImageNation is additionally asking supporters to participate via social media by sharing Soul Cinema-related photos and videos and tagging them #ILoveSoulCinema.

I AM ImageNation Outdoor Film and Music Festival includes free programming in Harlem, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, and runs through August 22nd. This year’s schedule includes partnerships with SummerStage, Harlem Week, New York City Parks Department and the Reel Harlem Film Festival. Remaining Harlem dates include August 2nd at Marcus Garvey Park.  August 15th at St. Nicholas Park, and August 22nd at St. Nicholas Park during Harlem Week.

For more information  visit www.imagenation.us or follow on Twitter @ImageNationUS.

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Photos: View from the crowd at Marcus Garvey Park (top); ImageNation’s Gregory Gates (right); Les Nubians in performance;  Les Nubians sisters, Hélène and Célia Faussart, with Moikgantsi Kgama. #ILoveSoulCinema  photos by Raymond Hagans. All photos courtesy of ImageNation.