Special to The Times
NEW YORK — This month, Macy’s celebrates Black History Month by welcoming a host of stars from a variety of fields including fine art, music, literature, the culinary arts, and spoken word.
Black culture has electrified the pulse of American life for generations, from music and fashion to film, television and activism. It has created a wave of change that has helped propel the country to new heights.
This year, celebrity guests will share how creative self-expression and a strong connection to their heritage have shaped their careers. As part of Macy’s Black History Month celebrations, Grammy-nominated artist BJ The Chicago Kid, “Insecure” actor Jay Ellis, award-winning Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Marcus Samuelsson, and “The Read” podcast host Crissle West will join other emerging stars in conversations focused on the influence and impact of black culture on all facets of American life.
“Macy’s is once again thrilled to celebrate the contributions African Americans have made to our nation with special events in our stores,” said Kristyn Doar-Page, Macy’s vice president of Diversity & Inclusion Strategies. “Macy’s values the diversity of all of its customers and inclusion and respect are at the heart of our core values. We are happy to join with our associates and customers nationwide in honoring the legacy of African American achievement during Black History Month and beyond.”
In New York City and Washington, D.C., writer and pop culture commentator Crissle West will moderate thought-provoking conversations with local artists. In Philadelphia and Atlanta, Chef Marcus Samuelsson will share stories from his new book, “The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem!” In Chicago, BJ The Chicago Kid and Jay Ellis will participate in an engaging panel discussion and talk with the audience.
Rapper, spoken-word poet, actor and activist Saul Williams serves as the national ambassador for Macy’s Black History Month Celebration. Exclusive video performances and interviews from Williams, hailed as the “poet laureate of hip-hop” by “CNN,” will be featured at www.macys.com/celebrate.
“I am very glad Macy’s is furthering the discourse around artistic self-expression in black culture. As a performer who uses words to bring attention to social justice causes, I feel it is paramount to stimulate engagement and awareness through our words and our art,” said Williams.
BJ The Chicago Kid is an R&B recording artist who recently delivered a soulful rendition of the national anthem preceding President Obama’s farewell address. His debut album, “In My Mind,” has been nominated for three 2017 Grammy Awards. He recently released a mixtape, “The Lost Files: Cuffing Season” and a new video for his homage to Marvin Gaye, “Uncle Marvin.”
Jay Ellis is a talented actor best known for his roles on HBO’s “Insecure” and BET’s “The Game.” His other credits include guest-starring roles on “Hart of Dixie,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “NCIS,” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
“I am grateful to be among those Macy’s has selected to discuss the powerful impact artistic black voices are having on today’s American culture,” said Jay Ellis. “There couldn’t be a better time to come together to talk about the strides we have made and the road ahead.”
Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club, and Streetbird Rotisserie. He is a committed philanthropist and the youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from “The New York Times.” Samuelsson has won multiple James Beard Foundation Awards, including Best Chef: New York City, and was tasked with planning and executing the Obama Administration’s first State dinner. Samuelsson was also crowned champion of television shows “Top Chef Masters” and “Chopped All Stars,” and served as a mentor on ABC’s “The Taste”. In October of 2016, he released his newest book, “The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem!”
“I am thrilled to be celebrating Black History Month with Macy’s,” said Marcus Samuelsson. “I look forward to paying homage to black culture’s impact on the culinary arts and sharing some of my favorite bites and stories with guests in Philadelphia and Atlanta.”
Crissle West is a writer and the female co-host of the hit comedy podcast, “The Read,” a weekly show covering the latest in entertainment news. Crissle’s written work has been published in “ESSENCE” magazine and she has appeared on panels covering race, gender, and sexuality.
“I am really looking forward to engaging with young people and sharing stories of how black culture has influenced my personal and professional journey,” Crissle said.
At each of the Black History Month events, Macy’s customers will have an opportunity to meet and greet with event talent. For additional information on Macy’s Black History Month festivities, visit macys.com/celebrate.