Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Errol Pierre. I am a 1st generation American. Both of my parents grew up in Haiti and moved to America in the 1970’s. I grew up in Spring Valley, New York; a town 30 minutes outside of the city. I love to travel and have visited 25 countries so far; my favorite being South Africa. I will add 4 more countries to my list in 2018. I have a passion for collecting art from the African diaspora and reading post-colonial literature. I volunteer as a board member for the West Side YMCA and the 100 Black Men of Long Island. I also teach Health Economics in Long Island at Molloy College in their MBA program. I graduated from Fordham University with a degree in Business, New York University with a Masters in Health Policy & Financial Management, and I will start a doctoral program in the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College in the Fall. During the day, I run health plan operations as the Chief Operating Officer of Empire BlueCross BlueShield of New York.
What is your favorite Apollo memory?
It is a challenge to only choose one memory. But it has to be the time I went to my first Apollo gala a number of years ago. I was dancing near the DJ booth with a group of friends when Spike Lee suddenly passed by us and walked right up into the DJ booth and requested a song. The DJ then starts playing the song after announcing him and Spike Lee proceeded to energetically get the entire crowd hyped up. It was such a surreal moment to party with someone I hold in such a high professional regard. I have so much respect for everything he has done in advancing arts and culture through film.
What was your first encounter with the Apollo Theater?
Definitely staying up late, way passed my bedtime, trying to watch Amateur Night at the Apollo on TV without my parents finding out, back when I was in middle school.
Why does the Apollo matter to you? Why now in particular?
I am passionate about the intersectionality of music, culture, race, and social change. The Apollo uniquely brings all of these very relevant topics together under one roof with the authenticity and credibility of its legacy with not just Black Americans, but also Harlem, New York. How could you not want to be in this building as much as possible? It’s an oasis and a safe place from the micro-aggressions we face 24 hours, 7 days a week being Black in America.
Why do you give to the Apollo and how do you feel when you give a gift?
I give so that the Apollo can continue the great work that it does year after year. The programs allow for the space we need as a people for thoughtful conversations. Those conversations are so vital to our survival and longevity; especially in today’s political climate.