ImageNation Launches #ILoveSoulCinema Campaign to Open A Boutique Cinema in HarlemThese folks have been around for far longer than I’ve been running this blog, repping the Harlem NYC area (although not solely) for over almost 2 decades on almost all things black film. They’re also an AFFRM partner. But they certainly aren’t resting on their laurels, with plans to establish what they’re calling a boutique theatre in Harlem called the Soul Cinema Café, which will offer a curated selection of films, of course, and more, including music, art, and other kinds of Pan African culture. They’ve taken to crowdfunding (via RocketHub at to assist in financing that dream – one that I’m sure many of you (filmmakers and audiences alike) will gladly exploit as well, when it does become a reality.  

So check out all the goodies via press release below, starting with the pitch video, and follow the listed instructions on how to contribute…


Earlier this month, ImageNation officially launched the Soul Cinema Campaign Cafe on to raise $35,000 for the renovation of their Harlem Raw Space into a boutique theatre. The fundraising initiative was officially announced July 6th at ImageNation’s outdoor screening of Half of a Yellow Sun at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem, NY. The online crowdfunding campaign is hosted on Rocket Hub and will run thru August 28th with suggested giving levels ranging from $5 to $10,000.

ImageNation’s Soul Cinema will be lively social hub that serves as a beacon for people who seek progressive cinema and music depicting the global Black experience. Located, just steps away from Harlem’s famous 125th Street, the Soul Cinema is slated to open early 2016 in ImageNation’s current Raw Space on Adam Clayton Powell between 121st St. and 122nd St.

On the night of the launch, nearly 1,000 attendees turned out last night for ImageNation’s second screening for this summer’s Outdoor Film and Music Festival season. ImageNation founder, Moikgantsi Kgama greeted the crowd and enthusiastically announced the new campaign initiative to open a boutique soul cinema. The announcement was followed by a live performance by Les Nubians’ and a screening of Half of a Yellow Sun (based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel), both being prime examples of the type of programming ImageNation will feature at the new Soul Cinema.

“Online fundraising is a great way to involve the community in the next stage of our development,” said Moikgantsi Kgama, Founder of ImageNation. “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.”

The Soul Cinema will offer a curated selection of film, food, music, art and culture. The cafe will serve food from New York’s own Soul Fixins Restaurant. Soul Cinema will also house a film archive that will be open for free daily public use. However, its main attraction will be a 60-seat theater. In addition to film screenings and live music performances, The Soul Cinema will also host art by select artists, community panels and youth programs. The venue will launch with a year-long exhibit featuring commissioned works by Sophia Dawson for the Soul Cinema.

“ImageNation means the absolute possibility of bringing a practical solution to the imbalance of images of people of color in mainstream media,” says ImageNation advisory board member Michaela Angela Davis. Most notably, ImageNation is known for its summer-long Outdoors Film and Music Festival, which features free outdoor films and live music performances in city parks in Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. This year marks their 13th annual season and includes partnerships with SummerStage, Harlem Week, New York City Parks Department and the Reel Harlem Film Festival.

ImageNation is also a founding partner of Ava DuVernay’s AFFRM organization and over the years their programming has included events with Ruby Dee, Erykah Badu, Chuck D, Spike Lee, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Perez and Stanley Nelson to name a few. “There weren’t any programs or theatre for us and this is a reason this organization is important,” says Lee Daniels in the Soul Cinema campaign promotional video. “I love soul cinema. I can’t wait for it to be in Harlem because it represents the best of our people and the best of our tradition,” says HuffPost Live host Marc Lamont Hill.

The Soul Cinema Campaign will run through August 28th. In addition to donating online, ImageNation is also asking supporters to participate via social media by sharing photos and videos of themselves and representations of soul cinema and tagging them #ILoveSoulCinema.

#ILoveSoulCinema Campaign Video:

RocketHub Crowd Funding Link

ImageNation Outdoor Film and Music Festival Upcoming Events

August 2nd 

4th Annual Soul Train Tribute

Make it Funky!: A Soul Train Dance Party & Tribute to James Brown

Film: Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown

Music: Music by DJ Stormin Norman (Sundae Sermon plus a live musical tribute led by Musical Director Chris Rob (former music director for John Legend) along with Lorenda Robinson (of Brown Baby Girl), Sabrina Clery (of Red Sahara), Qua Lamar, former lead singer of NJ5ive (from MTV’s Top Pop Group), extraordinary vocalist Nicholas Ryan Gant, and Charisa The Violin Diva.

In association w/ OkayPlayer, Injoy Enterprises and the Reel Harlem Film Festival Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem

August 9th     

Film: Our Latin Thing

Music: Felix Hernandez Rhythm Revue

*SummerStage, East River Park

August 15th  

Film: The Harder They Come

Music: 103.9 FM

*Harlem Week, St. Nicholas Park

August 22nd

Film: Finding Fela

Music: 103.9 FM

*OkayPlayer, Harlem Week, St. Nicholas Park

All films are free and open to the public. Performances begin at 7:00pm and films start at 8:00pm or sundown. For detailed film descriptions, and director profiles please visit

For more information on ImageNation and the 13th Annual ImageNation Outdoors Film and Music Festival please visit You can also follow them on Twitter @ImageNationUS