Tyler Perry Receives Impact Award at the Apollo

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By Journalist Ms. Jones

HARLEM – On Monday, June 13th, all the stars came out to the Apollo Theater. They didn’t come to boo or cheer for Amateur Night. They came for Apollo’s Annual Spring Benefit.
“Our last Spring Benefit was in 2019… This past year, we slowly returned back to live events. But, even when we we’re not on stage, we were still very much here, doing our work, engaging, educating, and entertaining. [Supporters enable] the Apollo to serve close to 200,000 people live in the theater and reach millions of people worldwide with programs called Digital Stage… That’s impact,” said President & CEO of the Apollo Theater Jonelle Procope who recently received an honorary doctorate degree form Howard University. “As our evening’s and season’s themes states, the Renaissance is now much like the days of the Harlem Renaissance. This new renaissance is unleashing a wealth of rich, creative expression, which is as healing and transformative as it is entertaining.”

The Roots perform at the Apollo Theater's Annual Spring Benefit.
The Roots perform at the Apollo Theater’s Annual Spring Benefit.

The Spring Benefit would not have been a success without the chairs or the sponsors. Kwanza Jones was both.

“A number of years ago, I was at Amateur Night at the Apollo when I was in college at Princeton. It’s a full circle moment. To go from being an artist and performing at Amateur Night to now being a Premier Sponsor and on the board, it just feels like what the Apollo does, the impact it makes. I’m just so happy to keep the tradition going to support its culture and its capital,” said Kwanza Jones who has out a single called “Queen Moves Only.”
Tyler Perry was honored with an Impact Award. Whoopi Goldberg presented it.

“I love that I’m giving him the Impact Award because it’s all about his philanthropy and his extraordinary impact on the arts… I love him because he’s funny and he does all kinds of things that people don’t understand sometimes… I love what he does because I see me. I feel me here with him. That’s a remarkable thing. It’s very hard to find something universal. And that’s what he’s done… He represents the best of us,” said Goldberg.

Even though Tyler Perry was being honored, he gave back. He blessed the Apollo with a surprise donation.

Stephanie Mills performs at the Apollo Theater's Annual Spring Benefit.
Stephanie Mills performs at the Apollo Theater’s Annual Spring Benefit.

“When you are honored by a legacy, a history that is as rich as the Apollo you have to honor that… So much is happening in a world where people are trying to erase our history… They don’t want it taught in schools… It’s so important that we ourselves, make sure that our kids and other people know and remember the history and on this stage and in this building, there have been some legends,” said Perry who gave half a million dollars.
SNL’s Kenan Thompson hosted the Apollo’s Spring Benefit. There were special performances by Anthony Hamilton, The Roots, Stephanie Mills, Ogi, and Kamasi Washington. The Marching Cobras led the crowd dancing down the street to a lively after party led by legendary DJ Derrick “D-Nice” Jones.

Journalist Ms. Jones

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