The Apollo today announced new additions to its 2023 Spring Benefit. The ‘Empress of Soul,’ Gladys Knight joins the line-up as an esteemed musical guest.
Academy Award-winning director Spike Lee is also confirmed to present the Impact Award to six-time NBA champion and the league’s only six-time MVP, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Apollo Music Café alumni and esteemed vocalist, Stout, is slated to appear as a musical guest with a special Tina Turner tribute. The historic organization’s largest annual fundraising event returns Monday, June 12 with an evening themed “The Next Movement!”
Previously announced honorees include The Apollo’s President and CEO Jonelle Procope who will end her 20 year tenure at the helm of the legendary cultural arts organization; Icon Award recipient Sean “Diddy” Combs, one of the most successful entrepreneurs and cultural icons of all-time. Eyewear brand and industry leader Warby Parker will receive the Corporate Award.
Also previously confirmed, are special appearances from trailblazing rapper and formidable actress MC Lyte, three-time Grammy award-winning artist, producer and writer Wyclef Jean. Award-winning artist, DJ, and photographer, D-Nice, returns to the annual celebration for a mainstage set performance and to helm the DJ booth at the event’s infamous after-party. Musician, composer and producer Ray Chew returns to the Apollo stage as Music Director for the 12th year.
All proceeds will support the non-profit organization’s year-round, world-class artistic, education, and community programs, as well as its commitment to Black arts and culture, and creating a 21st century performing arts canon.
The Apollo has been a place of dynamic energy and forward motion for more than 89 years. This season’s programmatic theme is aptly themed “The Next Movement!” and has presented signature programs, audience favorites, and exciting new works from artists pushing the boundaries of their art forms – from music and dance to fashion and film, and beyond.
To purchase benefit tickets, make a donation or for more information, visit www.apollotheater.org/event/spring-benefit-2023/ Proceeds from the Spring Benefit support The Apollo’s innovative performing arts, education and community initiatives, which serve 200,000 people annually.
The legendary Apollo—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. In 2023, The Apollo will open The Apollo’s Victoria Theaters, which will include two new theater spaces, and begin the renovation of its Historic Theater, marking the first ever expansion and renovation of The Apollo in its nearly 90-year history. Read more about the project here: www.apollotheater.org/renovation-restoration-and-transformation/
With music at its core, The Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes the world premiere of the theatrical adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and the New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved; special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo; 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella; and the annual Africa Now! Festival. The non-profit Apollo is a performing arts presenter, commissioner, and collaborator that also produces festivals, large-scale dance and musical works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend The Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens, including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival as well as other multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations. Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, The Apollo 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 Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, H.E.R., D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Jazmine Sullivan, Machine Gun Kelly, and Miri Ben Ari; and The Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy. For more information about The Apollo, visit www.ApolloTheater.org.
Photo credit: Diddy.
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