September 9, 2020
Apollo Theater COVID-19 Update - read more for details

A Statement from Jonelle Procope

It goes without saying that we are in unprecedented times. And yet, it is also important to recognize that this is not new - as a nation, as a community and as a theater that supports the work of artists who have too often been oppressed, silenced, and ignored.

As is all too often the case, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately ravaged Black and Brown communities and created immense personal and financial hardship for many across the country. In addition to our fight for survival, numerous small, Black-owned businesses are struggling, while simultaneously dealing with health challenges or the loss of loved ones due to this virus. There is no minimizing the pain being felt by so many.

And then another virus, one which has plagued our country for 400-years, has burst onto our screens and into the media through the murder of George Floyd: eight minutes and forty-six seconds of horror. In the aftermath of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others, thousands across the country - people of all races and ethnicities are marching and raising their voices to demand justice. It is my hope that we can channel our anger and rage into constructive change. We must finally create a new narrative that addresses our nation’s history of racism.

And so, the question remains: how can we, the Apollo Theater, help to safeguard our democracy, our freedom, and our humanity?

The Apollo will do what we have always done. Our history is rooted in the fight for human dignity and racial equality and mirrors the history of our community. For more than 86 years, the Apollo has been a home--at times the only home--for Black artists and activists. For more than eight decades, we have amplified the movements and conversations around civil rights, social justice and racial inequality. Even with our physical doors closed, we won’t stop now.

At the Apollo we have rallied around the power of art and culture to transform, connect and heal.

Because, whether we stay home and quarantine, take to the streets in peaceful protest, or fight for justice and equality in other ways, we always need to remember that we are in this TOGETHER. And until we can come together to recognize racism as the pandemic that it is and create lasting change, the story will remain the same.

One way we can begin to change the narrative is to vote like your life depends on it, because it does!

Jonelle Procope

President & CEO
Apollo Theater

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As the latest initiative in the Apollo Theater’s ongoing expansion, Apollo New Works extends the Theater’s commitment to the articulation and projection of the African American and African diasporic narrative. This multi-disciplinary commissioning program is dedicated to the creation of a diverse, 21st century American performing arts cannon. Many of the works will premiere at the Apollo’s new theaters at the Victoria, scheduled to open in fall 2021. Apollo New Works is made possible with the support of a $2 million grant from the Ford Foundation for the creation of new work by artists of color, the initiative is also funded by a $1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Apollo’s Master Artist in Residency, a central component of the program. Apollo New Work artists include: Camille A. Brown, Stefon Harris, Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, Ebony Noelle Golden, Ballet Hispánico, BANDALOOP & Daniel Bernard Roumain, Black Gotham Experience, Soul Science Lab, The New Black Fest, and Talvin Wilks.

Learn more about programs at the Apollo and the expansion at the Victoria Theater below.

Apollo Programs Victoria Theater

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