It isn’t often that you get to choose where to watch history in the making, but Election Night was that rare event that you could pick your perch.
I chose Harlem as my perch. I don’t live there, but I work there once a week, tending to the cheese program at a wine bar—yes, a cheese program at a wine bar. You see, Harlem 2008 is different from the Harlem of the Renaissance and Harlem as the locus of black nationalism in the early ’70s. My life wouldn’t be the same without those Harlems. I read the Renaissance writers, and my first Gil Scott-Heron album contained the poem, “Small Talk at 125th and Lenox,” which made me go there 30 years ago in my first week as a New York City resident.
Jay Smooth, voice of illdoctrine.com, caught on film Harlem’s celebration of the Obama win on Tuesday night. He had this to say about the evening: “I don’t have any words yet, you’re gonna have to give me a minute.” Needless to say, the video is powerful.