*The Apollo Theater is one of the nation’s greatest cultural treasures and the pride of the Harlem community where it is located on 125th Street. The historic entertainment complex is home to the Apollo Theater Walk of Fame containing the Apollo Legend Hall of Fame inductees under the theater’s iconic marquee.
The newest inductee, R&B diva Chaka Khan who is also celebrating her 40th year in the music business, will join the celebrated company of past inductees including Lionel Ritchie, Etta James, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Gladys Knight, Little Richard, and Ella Fitzgerald.
“I am honored that the Apollo is inducting me into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame,” says Khan. “The Apollo Theater is an American institution and is world-renowned for developing, nurturing, and creating talent for decades. The Apollo Theater has supported my career and now they are a part of honoring my legacy. I am looking forward to the celebration.”
The induction took place at the stellar Apollo Spring Gala on Monday, June 10, 2013 to a packed crowd. The induction plaque presentation by Erykah Badu and Paul Tudor Jones, Co-Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Tudor Investment Corporation, was preceded by special performances by Alexandra Burke, Mary J. Blige, Deborah Cox, Jennifer Holliday and Patti LaBelle of some of Khan’s famous songs under the musical direction of Ray Chew. Burke, Cox and Holliday brought the house down during a finale performance of Khan’s 1978 classic, “I’m Every Woman.”
The celebratory evening raised a record $1.5 million to benefit the Apollo’s educational programs in New York City, preservation of the non-profit theater’s unparalleled legacy and its current initiatives for emerging artists.
Other highlights of the luminous evening included the presentation to Time Warner, Inc. with the distinguished Corporate Award, accepted by Time Warner’s Chairman & CEO Jeff Bewkes, in recognition of the company’s generous support of the Apollo by Sarah Jessica Parker. Carol’s Daughter Founder & President Lisa Price received the coveted Percy E. Sutton Civic Leadership Award, named in honor of one of New York City’s legendary leaders and a champion of Harlem and its cultural institutions. Presented by Shawn R. Outler, this award is given to an individual or group who has demonstrated extraordinary support for and understanding of the value of the arts.
The evening kicked off with warm and inspiring welcoming remarks by Jonelle Procope, president & CEO, Apollo Theater; and gala co-chairs Ronald O. Perelman, Debra L. Lee, Tamara Mellon, OBE and Marcus Samuelsson. Emmy Award-winning comedian and star of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” and host of daytime’s revival “Let’s Make a Deal” Wayne Brady served as Master of Ceremonies and delightfully worked the crowd who unanimously agreed that he should be a permanent fixture at this annual soiree that was lovingly produced by Ron Weisner, Weisner-Small Productions.
The evening culminated at a post performance party featuring a stylish lounge created by celebrity event planner Bronson van Wyck featuring mouth-watering catering by Bite and yummy desserts by Magnolia Bakery. Radio personality G. Keith Alexander served as the evening’s announcer.
2013 Apollo Spring Gala Co-Chairs include: Anna Chapman & Ronald O. Perelman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc. and Apollo Theater Board Member; Debra L. Lee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BET; Tamara Mellon, OBE; Richard Plepler, CEO of Home Box Office, Inc.; and Marcus Samuelsson, Celebrity Chef and Apollo Board Member. Gala Vice Chairs include: Gina Adams, James L. Dolan, Marcella & Terry Jones, Sonia & Paul T. Jones, and Laura Parsons & Dick Parsons, Chairman, Apollo Theater Board of Directors.
The Apollo Theater gratefully acknowledges its Spring Gala sponsors: Time Warner Inc., MacAndrews & Forbes, Macy’s, BET Networks, BNY Mellon, The Coca-Cola Company, Chase, and TVOne. Special thanks to American Airlines, Belvedere Vodka, Bronson van Wyck, Bite, Magnolia Bakery, Rogers Eckersley Design, and Manhattan Magazine. (Photos by Shahar Azran)
About the Apollo Theater
The Apollo is a national treasure that has had a significant impact on the development of American culture and its popularity around the world. Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has played a major role in cultivating artists and in the emergence of innovative musical genres including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Brown, Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, and countless others began their road to stardom on the Apollo’s stage. The Apollo Theater’s new artistic vision builds on its legacy. New Apollo programming has music as its core, driving large scale and more intimate music, dance and theater presentations. The Apollo will continue to present historically relevant presentations, as well as more forward-looking, contemporary work. Based on its cultural significance and architecture, the Apollo Theater received state and city landmark designation in 1983 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org.
About Chaka Khan
An international music icon and an American institution, the ten-time GRAMMY® Award winner has influenced generations of artists. Chaka Khan has the rare ability to sing in eight music genres, including R&B, jazz, pop, rock, gospel, country, classical and dance music. She is a songwriter, producer, author, actor, philanthropist, entrepreneur and activist. Chaka has released 22 albums and racked up ten #1 Billboard magazine charted songs, seven RIAA certified gold singles and ten RIAA certified gold and platinum albums. Chaka’s recorded music has produced over 2,000 catalogue song placements. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her extraordinary achievements in music and entertainment. Earlier this year, she was awarded a BET Honors and she was the recipient of the Trumpet Award (Legend Award). In June 2012, she was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. In 2011, she was honored for her legendary career with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. During the same year, Chaka was honored with the United Negro College Fund’s An Evening of Stars Tribute. Chaka also received the Soul Train Legend Award (2009), the BET Lifetime Achievement Award (2006), the World Music Lifetime Achievement Award (2003), and the GRAMMY® Honors Award from the NARAS Chicago Chapter (2006). In 2004, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the Berklee School of Music in Boston, MA. Chaka’s autobiography, Through the Fire, was published by Rodale Books in 2003 and is currently being adapted into a screenplay. In 1999, she established the Chaka Khan Foundation, which includes a variety of programs and initiatives that assist women and children at risk. In July 2012, Chaka received the McDonald Corporation’s 365Black Award, honoring her for her leadership of the Chaka Khan Foundation. This year, 2013, marks the 40th anniversary of Chaka’s career in music and entertainment.
New York native and award-winning journalist Audrey J. Bernard covers entertainment, fashion & beauty, film, lifestyles and travel exclusively for the Electronic Urban Report.