Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Detroit (Motown!) and raised in Ann Arbor, MI. I left the Midwest and moved to the East Coast to attend Princeton University where I was pre-med and majored in psychology. After graduating, I moved to New York to attend NYU School of Medicine. I completed my pediatric residency and pediatric gastroenterology fellowship at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine on the Upper East Side where I now practice. Two years ago I moved to Harlem and can now walk to the Apollo, which I love. During my free time, I enjoy traveling, sports, dance, music, theater, and art. In addition to being an AYP, I also hold positions in the local and regional chapters of the National Medical Association and serve on the Ambassadors Leadership Coalition for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
What is your favorite Apollo memory?
So many! A few favorites include seeing Pharrell and D’Angelo on the stage, watching nervous young artists win over crowds during Amateur Night, and attending numerous AYP events, especially the 2018 fall kickoff at the Cecil which was phenomenal. However, my absolute favorite memories have always come from the annual gala every spring. Nothing beats dressing to the nines, swaying to the phenomenal talent on the main stage, fabulous décor, food, cocktails and dancing the night away to an amazing DJ with friends new and old - all of whom love and support the Apollo. The gala is always my unofficial start to the summer and seems to get even better every year.
What was your first encounter with the Apollo Theater?
My very first memory of the Apollo was watching Showtime at the Apollo on TV as a kid back in Ann Arbor. I first visited the Apollo for a performance during med school and I was hooked. I have now frequented the Apollo more times than I can count for all types of performances, lectures, and events and it feels like home.
Why does the Apollo matter to you? Why now in particular?
The Apollo is a historic cultural icon, particularly in the African American community. In this challenging political climate where racial, ethnic, and gender biases and discrimination are still rampant, I have found the Apollo to be a safe space of sorts where I can gather with friends and like-minded people and celebrate our African American history as well as appreciate the rich and diverse talent that graces the stage on any given evening.
Why do you give to the Apollo and how do you feel when you give a gift?
I give to the Apollo for several reasons. I have been blessed in many ways throughout my life and am passionate about giving back, particularly in ways that benefit African American communities and culture. I am also proud to support the Apollo’s commitment to providing free programs to engage New York’s children, schools, families, artists, and community-based organizations. Finally, while the Apollo receives generous contributions from government agencies, corporations and foundations, I think it is important that young professionals begin to engage in philanthropy early on within their communities, and I am honored to do my part to support and help preserve the Apollo’s historic legacy.