Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Hempstead, Long Island, but currently reside in Central Harlem. I’m an Equity actor, I have my own production company called Take Each Moment, and through it, I produce a bi-weekly open mic series in Hell’s Kitchen called The Darker the Berry . Three years ago, I took a break from auditioning to transition into the corporate world, but I made sure to bring the Arts along with me for the ride.
What is your favorite Apollo memory?
I have so many favorite Apollo memories, including the magnificence that was this year’s Spring Gala. But my absolute favorite was getting to witness Ms. Oprah Winfrey in all her glory shooting episodes of her Super Soul Conversations series. A close second would be when I performed at Amateur Night. Yes, being in the presence of Oprah beat out actually performing on the stage myself because…Oprah. Need I say more?
What was your first encounter with the Apollo Theater?
I’m unsure of my first encounter with the Apollo because I’ve watched so many performance videos over the decades, I can’t remember which ones were simply digital and which ones I actually experienced. The first time I ever stepped foot in the theater may have been the day I performed back in 2013. I recall being completely enamored by the whole experience of roaming the house unobstructed during sound check, hanging out backstage not as a tourist, but as a member of the Apollo family, rubbing the log, and then finally singing my heart out to all 3 tiers accompanied by the phenomenal Apollo band. I may have had more encounters prior to that, but that was for sure one for the books.
Why does the Apollo matter to you? Why now in particular?
I’ve always enjoyed culture and the Arts, and after spending 3 years studying math at Duke University, I switched my major to Theater Studies with a double minor in Dance and African & African-American Studies. Harlem and the World Famous Apollo are the epitome of Arts and culture, and I grew up hearing about this wonderful place where so many of my favorite artists got their start. The Apollo matters to me because this legacy matters to me.
Why do you give to the Apollo and how do you feel when you give a gift?
I give to the Apollo because I want to see it thrive. So many of our legendary performance venues have closed, and I’d like my kids and my grandkids to be able to have the same sense of pride and culture as I did growing up. My grandma always tells me stories of how she used to dance at the Savoy Ballroom, and I WISH it were still around so I could dance there too. One day, I look forward to telling my kids about how I was a proud donor and performer at the Apollo, right before hopping in the car and taking them there to see a show themselves.