Harlem Light Parade returns with Korey Wise as grand marshal

This year’s Parade of Lights will have a caravan of 10 floats – each sponsored by a Harlem community organization, local political leaders, community boards, as well as members of the local businesses community. (Photo courtesy of the 125th Business Improvement District)

Wise joins Laiona Michelle and Leah Abraham at the parade’s front this year.

Harlem is shining a little extra bright this holiday season as the uptown neighborhood’s 26th annual holiday lights get plugged in on Thursday, Nov. 20.

Called “Harlem Light It Up,” a parade of lights will march down 125th Street from Morningside Avenue and on with plenty of more festive fun planned throughout the day.

Manhattan Community Boards 9 and 10 selected three grand marshals for that bright parade:

Korey Wise — One of the exonerated “Central Park Five,” who is now known from the Netflix series “When They See Us.” Wise is also a public speaker and social justice activist, who has risen to prominence since he and four others were acquitted and released from prison for a crime that they did not commit.

Laiona Michelle — An actor, singer, and writer who made her Broadway debut in the 2015 musical “Amazing Grace,” who recently broke box-office records at the George Street Playhouse with her performance as Nina Simone, in “Little Girl Blue” (which she wrote and starred in). She’s also now writing on a new musical headed for Broadway in 2020, based on the life of Nelson Mandela.

Leah Abraham — An Ethiopian-American entrepreneur who brings “a dynamic multi-cultural foundation to everything she does,” organizers say, and has been a driving force to bring successful business into the Harlem community. Abraham has found numerous ways to give back to the neighborhood through her passionate commitment to the business she has helped establish, Settepani Restaurant.

This year’s Parade of Lights will have a caravan of 10 floats – each sponsored by a Harlem community organization, local political leaders, community boards, as well as members of the local businesses community.

“The participation this year has hit a new high,” said CEO of the 125th Business Improvement District, Barbara Askins. “The historic community of Harlem deserves the kind of attention that is often relegated to the downtown communities.”

The light parade’s rain date is Monday, Nov. 25.

Alex Mitchell