Percy Sutton: Attorney who represented Malcolm X

Percy Sutton, who died on 26 December aged 89, was the pioneering civil rights attorney who represented Malcolm X before launching successful careers as a political power broker and media mogul. The son of a former slave, Sutton became a fixture in Harlem following his service with the famed Tuskegee Airmen in the Second World War. His Harlem law office, founded in 1953, represented Malcolm X and the act-ivist's family for several decades.

Alice Neel: Works on Paper, Victoria Miro, London

The baring of lives and souls

Bursting with pride on a Harlem night like no other

It didn't matter that Cab Calloway was no longer around to make the music, nor Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, or that Sugar Ray Robinson was not to be seen waving from his pink Cadillac after another beautiful performance downtown in Madison Square Garden.

Earl Nelson: Half of Bob & Earl

In 1985, the mood in the Rolling Stones' camp was decidedly fractious. With Mick Jagger busy promoting his first solo album, the other band members were cooling their heels and kicking ideas around in studios in Paris and then New York. Bobby Womack visited and they started playing "Harlem Shuffle", a song by the US rhythm and blues duo Bob & Earl. When Jagger finally arrived, the group recorded their own version of the track, which hit the singles charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The role "Harlem Shuffle" played as ice-breaker between Jagger and Keith Richards added yet another chapter to the story of a classic record first issued 45 years ago.

Street Scene, Young Vic, London

Kurt Weill called Street Scene "a Broadway opera", but there aren't too many operas with a wild jitterbug that segues into a slutty blues or a children's chorus who chant, "My father's name is Rockefeller./He shovels diamonds in the cellar." Into his 1947 musical version of Elmer Rice's 1929 play, Weill emptied a cornucopia of influences – Wagner, Puccini, folk song, jazz, operetta, and his predecessors on the Great White Way (predominantly George Gershwin). The luscious melodies, the powerful use of music to foreshadow action and accentuate character, make one grateful for even this flawed production of a rarely presented show, which looks back a decade to Porgy and Bess and forward to West Side Story.

Kristjan Järvi: Noises Off

Classical performers need to stop being stuffy and get in the groove

Fanny Brice: A Funny Girl revival ignores the real scandals in the Broadway legend's life

In 1964, Ray Stark had a problem. He wanted to produce a musical biography of Fanny Brice, but was married to Brice's daughter. Frances Stark was so protective of her mother's image that he had had to buy up the entire printing of an authorised, heavily censored biography because it stated, correctly, that Brice had shoplifted as a child. Brice's adult life contained much more unsavoury material, and her criminal husband, Nick Arnstein, was still alive. With such potential for lawsuits and domestic strife, Stark contrived a simple but effective solution: he lied.

First black governor set to take over

Eyes in a still shell-shocked Albany, the state capital, now turn to the quiet-spoken David Paterson, a former state representative from Harlem. Mr Paterson, who is blind, will be New York's first black governor and only the fourth African American to lead a US state.

Bobby Relf: Half of the soul duo Bob & Earl

As one-hit wonders go, the horn-blaring, finger-popping floor-filler "Harlem Shuffle" by the Los Angeles soul duo Bob & Earl has proved one of the most enduring. Co-written by Bobby Relf and Earl Nelson, and featuring their friend Barry White on piano, the song was originally released in the United States in 1963.

How gangster blockbuster led hoodlum's daughter to set up charity

For years Francine Lucas tried to keep her father's identity a secret. After all, who would want to admit to being the daughter of a Harlem hoodlum who used to smuggle heroin from Vietnam stashed in the coffins of dead American soldiers? But Ridley's Scott's new blockbuster American Gangster, which charts the rise of the chinchilla-clad drug kingpin Frank Lucas, forced her into the limelight at the age of 35, and now she is on a mission to help children who find themselves in a similar position today.

Apocalypto (18)

Mel gets down to the jungle boogie

Angels of Harlem

A once run-down and dangerous part of New York is being transformed into the city's latest hotspot says Lucie Green

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