By Jason Babb for HW
Wednesday, January 28th marked a very special night for the Apollo Theater. It was their 75th anniversary. Apollo Amateur Night has been a platform to many legendary music artists where they began their career, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Lauryn Hill and Luther Vandross just to name a few.
Since its introduction in 1934, the theater is still one of the most recognized brands for discovering new talent in the world. The celebration kicked off with the Host/comedian for the night, KISS FM’s “Talent” warming up the audience with jokes, brief Apollo history and trivia. (Harlem Council members showed support by awarding the theater with a proclamation plaque). We learned the first rap group to perform at the Apollo was UTFO from 80’s hit of Roxanne fame. A member from UTFO performed a throwback acappella style as Talent provided beat boxing for back up. The audience mostly made up of young ladies in their mid-30 who followed along with the chorus. Another guest that dropped by to the celebration was the self proclaimed gangster of Comedy “Capone”. The Apollo Kids segment featured two sensational young girls. One, who got my vote was Chelsea Ann Marie Jones who shined on that Apollo stage with ranging vocals reminiscent of a young Whitney. The highlight performance of the night was Harlem native rapper/producer Ron Browz. The rapper performed his popular new single “pop champagne” and “jumping out the window”. It was an exciting performance filled with a high octane audience who knew every word to the hit song that’s currently all over the air waves. Browz sounded pretty good considering he did not have the auto tune voice coder that he usually uses in his songs. Being that Ron Browz is still a “new” artist and has very few publicized performances, Apollo probably has advanced another career. The Apollo Theater Foundation will continue to keep their legacy alive with a series of projects and events including a show by John Legend, A Salon Series with Mario Van Peebles and a Festival celebrating the African American Cultural Heritage produced with Carnegie Hall.
Come to Harlem and celebrate the Apollo.