Harlem’s Apollo Theater Spring Benefit Raises A Record $3.7M, Including A Surprise $500K Gift From Tyler Perry

The Apollo Theater had a huge night during their annual Spring Benefit raising a record-breaking $3.7 million including a $500,000  gift from Tyler Perry.

Perry made the surprise announcement during his acceptance speech for the Impact Award presented by Academy Award® winner and The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg. This is the most ever raised for this fundraising event.

Hosted by Emmy® winner and SNL Cast member Kenan Thompson, who kept the sold-out crowd laughing with bits like his intro in which he appeared on video seemingly forgetting the event was in person! He also recreated his popular “Black Jeopardy” skit including “This Is Us” star Susan Kelechi Watson. 

Along with Tyler Perry, Global investment and merchant banking firm LionTree, was given the Corporate Award. Following the presentations, the audience enjoyed performances by rising artist Ogi as well as The Roots with special appearances by Stephanie Mills, Anthony Hamilton. 

Continuing their annual tradition, the Marching Cobras led the crowd down 126th street to the lively afterparty where International Celebrity DJ, Derrick “D-Nice” Jones returned with his signature sounds in the beautiful lounge created by celebrity event planner and Apollo Board Member Bronson van Wyck.

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In addition during the event, Bulova watches unveiled a first look at its Apollo timepiece commemorating the historic institution. 

Prior to the event, the non-profit also announced it will release a limited edition non-fungible token (NFT) commemorating the annual event. Approximately 400 NFT’s will be issued through Ticketmaster. The special NFT’s will be given to each person who donated to Apollo’s Spring Benefit. The commemorative NFT will be a digital keepsake celebrating the world-renowned organization’s largest annual fundraising event. 

The Apollo season’s theme, “The Renaissance is Now!,” and its presentations expanded the non-profit theater’s role as a partner, commissioner, and co-producer of programming that centers Black artists and voices from the African Diaspora while tackling social issues that are important to Harlem, New York, and the nation.

Proceeds from the Spring Benefit support the non-profit organization’s year-round, world-class artistic, education, and community programs and collaborations, as well as its commitment to using arts and culture to articulate and project the African American narrative and create a 21st-century performing arts canon. 

The Apollo Theater

The legendary Apollo Theater—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world.

With music at its core, Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo, the world premiere theatrical reading of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s National Book Award-winning Between the World and Me100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella, the annual Africa Now!

Festival and the recent New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved. The Apollo is a performing art presenting organization that also produces festivals and large-scale dance and music works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens; global festivals including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival and Breakin’ Convention; international and U.S.-based artist presentations focused on a specific theme; and Special Projects, multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations.

Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Billie Holiday, James Brown, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Dave Chappelle, Machine Gun Kelly, Miri Ben Ari, Sarah Vaughan, Gladys Knight, and Luther Vandross; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy.

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Harlem Cultural Archives is a donor and foundation-supported Historical Society, Its mission is to create, maintain and grow a remotely accessible, online, interactive repository of audio-visual materials documenting Harlem’s remarkable and varied multicultural legacies, including its storied past as well as its continuing contributions to the City and State of New York, the nation, and the world. Support Harlem Cultural Archives and click here to get more Harlem History, Thank you.

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