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Actress Nicholas to Host Tenth Cultural Rhythms

Festival Will Feature International Food, Dance

By Jessica A. Pepp

Actress and screenwriter Denise Nicholas will be on campus tomorrow, hosting the tenth annual Cultural Rhythms festival sponsored by the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations.

Organizers said they selected Nicholas as the festival's host because of her past involvement with Harvard student activities and because of her success in the entertainment business.

"We have focused on her because she has come to Harvard before and worked with Black Cast," said Elizabeth S. Carey, student activities coordinator at the Harvard Foundation.

As a Black woman in television and film, Nicholas has been a ground-breaker, Carey said. This is another reason she was asked to host the show, she said.

"She is a pioneering individual for African-Americans in network TV and on film," Carey said.

Nicholas has been an honoree of the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame since 1992. She won two Los Angeles Emmy Awards for her role in "Voices of Our People," a 1981 special about Black poetry.

Nicholas was co-star of the popular television shows "In the Heat of the Night" and "Room 222." She is now writing a feature-film, "Legacy."

Carey said the Cultural Rhythms festival is a celebration of students' different backgrounds. "The main idea is the embodiment of the rich cultural diversity of Harvard College," she said.

A cultural show, hosted by Nicholas, will begin the festival at 3 p.m. in Sanders Theatre, organizers said. The show will feature dance and musical performances by African, Hispanic and Asian student performance groups, among others.

Following the show, the public will be able to sample foods from around the world at an international food festival in the Science Center, organizers said. Proceeds from the food festival and the show will benefit Boston-area shelters and social organizations.

Past Cultural Rhythms hosts have included Andy Garcia, star of "The Godfather III," and Jimmy Smits, star of "LA Law" and "NYPD Blue."

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