Apollo Theater Presents WOW – Women of the World Festival in Partnership with the WOW Foundation, March 12-17

Harlem, N.Y., January 24, 2019 – The Apollo Theater revealed the line-up for the third annual WOW – Women of the World Festival Presented In Partnership With The WOW Foundation. Presented over four days in various spaces at the iconic cultural theater, the WOW Festival runs from March 12-17 and will feature workshops, activities, programming, and performances with artists, community leaders, writers, thinkers, activists, and leaders exploring a variety of issues across cultural, civic, and social boundaries with a focus on empowerment and activism. Participants include Poet Nikki Giovanni, Educator Johnnetta B. Cole; Finance Expert Suze Orman; Musician Alice Smith; White House Correspondent April Ryan; Comedian Mugga, and more to be announced. WOW Apollo will feature more than a dozen events, many of the events free or low cost.

Launched in 2010, the Festivals have developed a reputation as a space where world-renowned artists, performers, and political and social activists come and participate, alongside thousands of people of all genders, to celebrate achievements and imagine a gender equal world together. The unique Festival model creates ways for participants and campaigners, women and men, to take part in WOW, to amplify their own causes, or start new initiatives, which have a wide impact on communities. To date, WOW has reached over 2 million people in 17 countries on 5 continents across more than 60 festivals. The Apollo Theater is proud to be WOW’s New York home and its programming centers on issues and topics of interest to Women of Color.

Tickets and RSVP links to WOW Apollo are available now at www.wowapollo.com.

Offering an incredible range of powerful voices and insights, this year’s WOW Festival at the Apollo will include:

  • A conversation between Poet Nikki Giovanni and National Council of Negro Women President Johnnetta B. Cole on Tuesday, March 12
  • Apollo’s world-famous Amateur Night takes center stage and will feature special guest artist to be announced, adding even more sparkle to Wednesday, March 13 evening
  • Multi-talented comedian and film star Mugga at the mic, hosts an all-women Comedy Night on Thursday, March 14
  • Heralded singer Alice Smith and performer Liv Warfield take the stage on Friday, March 15
  • Things heat up on Saturday, March 16 thanks to a full day of offerings including a Women and Money with Suze Orman, the world’s personal finance expert
  • Also on Saturday: WOW 2019’s Teen Summit featuring panelists from theater, journalism, modeling, podcast/radio, and comedy, addressing shade representation in the media and helping young people better understand the history and current climate of colorism
  • A full range of free events take place on Sunday, March 17, including conversations between icons and thought-leaders including educator and activist Angela Davis in a sit- down with WOW Founder Jude Kelly; White House Correspondent/Journalist April Ryan and many more workshops and conversations that center around issues important to women of color
  • Interactive sessions and WOW bites—energized bite-sized talks, such as Work, Women, and Spirituality: A Sisters’ Cypher; Women Auto Know, a workshop on car maintenance; and Leadership Hacks for Women, a panel sharing perspectives and practical advice to women of all ages—round out Sunday’s docket

“The Apollo Theater is a cultural and civic anchor and we are proud to provide an avenue for meaningful exchanges of ideas,” said Kamilah Forbes, Executive Producer of the Apollo Theater. “It’s a true honor to produce this event again this year, and to be able to provide a forum for important cultural discussions that further amplify the smart and powerful messages of these incredible women.”

“WOW was built around a number of ‘ThinkIns,’ which consisted of conversations we had with hundreds of woman in our community who suggested topics, ideas, and concerns that were of importance to them,” said Jamilla Deria, Apollo Theater’s Program Director. ‘As we honor the contributions of women from around the globe and continue to share the wisdom of these powerhouses, we also aim to cultivate the individuality, strength, creativity, and fierceness of the future generations.”

The WOW Foundation Director and WOW Founder Jude Kelly said, “WOW - Women of the World Festivals are designed to be agents of change in their host cities, reflecting the community, supporting progress and powerful conversations about issues affecting women and girls. It’s such a gift to have a continued partnership with the Apollo Theater and to be able to provide a platform for this amazing lineup of women, representing massive breadth and depth of both professional and life experience.”

Past participants of the Apollo’s WOW have included Nobel Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee; Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o; Phoebe Robinson (of Two Dope Queens); Olympian Gabby Douglas; actress Gabourey Sidibe, Iyanla Vanzant, Macy Gray, and Women’s March leaders, Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez.

The working WOW schedule is below.

Visit www.wowapollo.com or www.ApolloTheater.org/WOW for updates and more information on the festival.

WOW Festivals are presented by arrangement with Southbank Centre, London.


All events to take place at the Apollo Theater

Working Schedule

As of January 22


7-8:45 PM

Live Wire: Nikki Giovanni in Conversation with Johnnetta B. Cole

Apollo Mainstage

Tickets: FREE with RSVP

As part of its "Legendary" series honoring iconic artists and their impact on American culture, Apollo Live Wire pays tribute to poet, educator and activist, Nikki Giovanni. Ms. Giovanni will be in conversation with anthropologist and educator Johnnetta B. Cole, recently appointed chair and seventh president of the National Council of Negro Women. The two will look at Giovanni's past and current work in a career that has spanned more than 50 years.

Presented by the Apollo Education Program in collaboration with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.'s Pride in Our Heritage Tour.


Nikki Giovanni - Poet, educator and activist (interviewee)

Johnnetta B. Cole - anthropologist and educator (interviewer)

* * *


6:30-8:15 PM

Live Wire: Fierce and Feminist in Harlem: Women and the Life of a Community

Apollo Soundstage Tickets: FREE with RSVP

Fierce and Feminist in Harlem: Women and the Life of a Community will look at artists, activists, journey-women, and others leading the cultural and political zeitgeist and whose presence and work in the Harlem community exemplify the concept of feminism. From the numbers racket, to the Harlem Renaissance, to involvement in the Communist Party, the Black Panther Party, and the Young Lords, Fierce and Feminist will consider the extraordinary influence women have had within the Harlem community and beyond. This discussion will honor women who were at the intersection of art, politics, and social change, such as pianist Hazel Scott, anthropologist Eslanda Goode Robeson, writer and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston and activist Yuri Kochiyama.

Presented by the Apollo Theater Education Program in collaboration with the organization, While We Are Still Here.


Karen D. Taylor, Founder and Executive Director, While We Are Still Here (facilitator)

7:30 PM

Amateur Night Apollo Mainstage Tickets: Start at $24

This season, the Apollo Theater will feature a WOW inspired special guest to perform during its weekly show, Amateur Night at the Apollo. Amateur Night is the Apollo’s signature talent competition. Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo and its

notoriously “tough” audience has played a major role in cultivating artists and in the emergence of innovative musical genres including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip- hop. Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Brown, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, and countless others began their road to

stardom on the Apollo’s stage.

* * *


10:00 PM

Apollo Comedy Club featuring Mugga, JoJo Collins, Carlise Hawkins, Barbara Carlyle

Apollo Soundstage

Tickets: $22 each; ($15 via the A-List) plus $10 drink minimum per person

Multi-talented comedian and film star Mugga hosts a line up of women comedians including JoJo Collins, Calise Hawkins and Barbara Carlyle -- all guaranteed to leave you in stitches. Presented in partnership with the legendary Bob Sumner (producer of Def Comedy Jam, creator of LaffMobb on Aspire), the Apollo Comedy Club features the best up and coming talent in comedy today.


Mugga, film star and comedian (host)

Barbara Carlyle, comedian JoJo Collins, comedian Calise Hawkins, comedian

* * *

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

8:00 PM

Alice Smith in Concert Apollo Mainstage Tickets: Start at $30

Alice Smith headlines WOW with an evening length concert featuring new music from her upcoming Full LP Mystery. The singer/songwriter/ producer, known for her 4-octave vocal range and stunning stage presence, made a name for herself with her critically acclaimed 2006 debut album, For Lovers, Dreamers & Me, released on BBE Records. Smith’s artful blend of bluesy, soulful vocals and mid-tempo grooves has garnered her a passionate following around the world.

Opening the evening concert, Liv Warfield will focus on her She-Roes. In 2006, Liv’s self- released debut album Embrace Me, and in 2009 legendary performer Prince invited her to audition for his vocal backing group, the New Power Generation (NPG) In 2014, Liv recorded her sophomore album, The Unexpected, with Prince as the Executive Producer. Liv Warfield’s describes her style as “alternative R&B Soul with a little bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll” – a style which she has spent years cultivating.

10:00 PM

Apollo Music Café: Butterscotch

Apollo Soundstage

Tickets: $22 each; ($15 via the A-List) plus $10 drink minimum per person

Butterscotch, the retro-futuristic, voice percussionist virtuosa, is a force to be reckoned with in today’s music scene. Considered the world’s first female beatboxing champion, Butterscotch beatboxes, sings, and plays guitar and piano, performing her own compositions and jazz standards. The Apollo Music Café is a monthly music series.


Jodine N Dorce (Host) Hard Hittin Harry (DJ)

* * *



WOW Teen Summit: No Shade

Apollo Mainstage Tickets: Free with RSVP

Created by and for teens, this year’s WOW Teen Summit: No Shade, looks to explore the impact of colorism on a global scale and its influence on local communities. Through performances and panel discussions, we will demystify the connection between racism and colorism, while opening up a dialogue of healing that will help us develop tactics to combat it.


Jocelyn Bioh, Playwright, School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls

Valencia Clay, Educator and Activist

Victory Jones, Modeling Agency for Women of Color

Janel Martinez, Journalist; Founder, Ain’t I Latina

5:00 PM

Suze Orman, The World’s Financial Expert Presents Women and Money

Apollo Mainstage

Tickets: $20 in advance, $30 at the door

After a sold-out, standing-room-only debut at the Apollo in 2018 that was broadcast on OWN, renowned financial expert Suze Orman returns to the Apollo Theater with a specially-crafted message.

While Orman is known for giving wide-ranging financial advice on everything from mortgages to retirement plans, because of the economic challenges and disparities in this city and beyond, her emphasis for this program will be to provide important financial information specifically for the empowerment of low-income or economically struggling women of color and women in general.

Laura Greer, Apollo Theater Associate Producer said, “We really wanted to address women who are trying to ‘make ends meet.’ The women who aren’t at the point of thinking about 401Ks and investments yet. We want to reach out to very specific community organizations, churches and civic associations to comprise the audience for this program.” Having financial freedom can often impact the challenges and obstacles that women face – from situations of domestic violence, sexploitation to accessing healthcare and education.

This evening is intended to give women the opportunity to tap into Ms. Orman’s unique spirit, people-first wisdom, and unparalleled appreciation that for women, money itself is not the end goal; it’s the means to live a full, meaningful life that supports their loved ones and their beloved communities.

10:00 PM

Apollo Music Café: Kimberly Nichole, the ROCK ballerina

Apollo Soundstage

Tickets: $22 each; ($15 via the A-List) plus $10 drink minimum per person

Kimberly Nichole exploded on the national scene on Season 8 of The Voice, gaining praise from Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera, Lionel Richie, Mark Ronson, and Reba McEntire, with her show-stopping performances, stylish presence, and vocal power. Fans clamored for her iconic rock covers and led her to the iTunes’ Top 20 three weeks in a row and even landed on the Billboard 100 Charts!


Jodine N Dorce (Host) Hard Hittin Harry (DJ)

* * *

SUNDAY, MARCH 17, 2019 2PM-6PM


*All Sunday programming is free and open to the public.* Apollo Mainstage, Soundstage, Greenroom, Lobby

Angela Davis In Conversation

Hear from legendary activist, writer, and scholar, Angela Davis.

Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world. Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities around economic, racial, and gender justice.

From the civil rights movement of the 1960s through to the present day, Davis has been a living witness to the historical struggles of the contemporary era.

Angela Davis presented a legendary talk at WOW London in 2017 on women, race, and class in the post-Trump era, the Apollo is delighted to welcome Davis to Harlem to continue the conversation with Jude Kelly, WOW Founder, addressing the current ‘state of the nation’ for women and girls across the world.


Angela Davis, scholar, author, activist (interviewee)

Jude Kelly, founder, WOW Foundation (interviewer)

In Conversation: April Ryan

Along with White House correspondent, CNN political analyst, and American Urban Radio Network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief, journalist and author, April Ryan can add #trolledbyPOTUS to her resume. In this up close and personal conversation, April shares her view from the WH Press Room, her membership in the sisterhood of Black women defamed by the President, and other details from her new book, Under Fire: Reporting from the Trump White House.


April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks and CNN

Women for Women

This panel profiles the work of several NGO (non-governmental organizations) leaders who are addressing the critical issues of US immigration policy, business micro-financing in Haiti, education for adolescent girls in Africa, and support for formerly incarcerated Aboriginal and Indigenous women and girls in Australia.


Debbie Kilroy, Founder and CEO, Sisters Inside

Lorella Praeli, Deputy Nat'l Policy Director & Director of Immigration Policy Campaigns, ACLU

Kesha Sutton-James

Mabel Valdivia, Executive Director, Fonkoze USA

Life Warriors From Cradle to Grave

Every being on the planet enters life through birth and leaves it through death. This panel addresses new ways to bring us closer to and more comfortable with each of these portals of existence, and the work we still need to do in between, as individuals, families, and communities.


Alua Arthur, Going with Grace

Leadership Hacks for Women

To “leap frog” means to skip the tried and true, good ole boys’ club rules for success by identifying the gaps, taking your best shot, and not waiting to be acknowledged or rewarded. In other words, hacking your way to fulfilling your vision. Meet four women in entrepreneurship, technology, banking, and politics who did just that.


Victoria Flores, Founder, Lux Beauty Club

Nathalie Molina Nino, Investor, coder and author of Leap Frog (moderator)

Minerva Tantoco, Former Chief Technology Officer for the City of New York

WOW Speed Mentoring

Mentors come in all ages and walks of life. First, we are all born with innate wisdom. Next, we acquire more along the way through education and life

experience. You never know how what you know might be just what someone else needs to hear. Speed Mentoring is a WOW Festival favorite, where we give and receive mentoring where you might least expect


Shirley McAlpine, specialist in leadership, individual performance, equality, diversity and inclusion (facilitator)

WOW BITE - Celebrating Shange

In 1976 Ntozake Shange penned the choreopoem, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, and changed the face of Broadway. Now, the star of that original cast, who won TONY, Drama Desk and Obie Awards for her performance as Lady in Red, shares her reflections on Shange, her writings, and her place in the pantheon of American literature.


Trezana Beverley, Performer, American stage and film actress, and the first African-American actress to receive a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

WOW BITE - Linda Kay Klein

The author of Pure: Inside the Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free reveals her personal story on the impact of evangelical religious sexual shaming on a generation of young girls.


Linda Kay Klein, storyteller, social innovator and activist

WOW BITE - Women Auto Know

In this hands-on lecture demonstration, you'll learn car maintenance basics and practice changing windshield wipers, gauging tire pressure, and jump-starting a battery. Be better prepared for your next visit to the dealership or repair shop. No more helplessness under the hood!


Audra Fordin, Lecturer/Owner of Great Bear Auto Repair in Flushing, N.Y., founder of Women Auto Know consumer advocacy initiative, and 4th generation mechanic

Welcome Table - Part 1: Cooking with Granny

Cooking with Granny is based on the web and live events series, where an immigrant grandmother cooks a traditional dish to tell her story of family, food, culture, and tradition. We’ll meet an Ethiopian grandmother who will share the secrets for making of dabo, a bread served on special occasions. Then, we’ll meet a trio of women restaurateurs who are bringing their cultural cooking to the Harlem culinary landscape.


Beejhy Barhany, Owner, Tsion Café Panelists (Ethiopia)

Maymuuna Birjeeb, Owner, Safari (Somalia)

Caroline Shin (moderator)

Anita Trehan, Owner, Chaiwali (India)

The Welcome Table - Part 2: In the Spirits

The Japanese national drink is sake, a wine brewed from rice. Sake sommelier and distributor Linda Noel Kawabata shares how soil, sun, water and time are used to create this traditional beverage, its many varieties and how best to enjoy them.


Linda Noel Kawabata, Sake Distributor

The Welcome Table - Part 3: Dining Protocol

An expert on international protocol will walk us through the basics of dining etiquette, from appetizers to gratuity, with tips for making sure you leave the restaurant with your job intact.


Cheryl Walker Robertson, Lecturer, Protocol International

Sisters of Sharqui

Belly Dancing’s origins run deep in Africa and the Middle East, and provide the foundation for several other individual and tribal group dance forms. Come learn a new way to shake what your mama gave you!


Brandy Heyward, Lecturer/performer/founder, Sisters of Sharqui

Work, Women, and Spirituality: A Sisters' Cypher

This open forum women’s circle utilizes the collective wisdom of the group to explore how women are being impacted intentionally, unwittingly, advantageously, and adversely by a wide- range of issues and influences: cultural, educational, historical, personal, professional, social, and spiritual.


Baraka Sele, Facilitator, Performing arts curator, consultant, and producer

About the Apollo Theater

The legendary Apollo Theater—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world.

With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo, 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella, the annual Africa Now! Festival, and the New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved. The Apollo is a performing arts presenting organization that also produces festivals and large-scale dance and music works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens; global festivals including the WOW - Women of the World Festival and Breakin’ Convention featuring international and U.S.-based artist presentations focused on a specific theme; and Special Projects, multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations.

Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, Miri Ben Ari, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder. The Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy.

About The WOW Foundation

WOW – Women of the World Festival is a global movement launched by Jude Kelly, CBE at Southbank Centre London in 2010. To date, The WOW Foundation has reached over 2 million people worldwide with its groundbreaking programs for change, including the WOW Festival.

The WOW Foundation produces WOW festivals across the world to celebrate women and girls, take a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, and raise awareness globally of the issues they face while focusing on possible solutions. It is the biggest, most comprehensive and most significant festival dedicated to presenting work by women and promoting equality for women and girls.

WOW Festivals are presented by arrangement with Southbank Centre, London. https://www.thewowfoundation.com/


Lead support for the Apollo's Women of the World Festival provided by Citi, HBO, and CBS. The Apollo's season is made possible by leadership support from Coca-Cola, Citi, Ford Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, and the Jerome L. Greene Foundation.

Public support for the Apollo Theater is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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For more information, please contact:

Fatima Jones, Sr. Director of Communications, Apollo Theater, press@apollotheater.org Meryl Cooper, The COOPERation, meryl@theCOOPERationinc.com, 917-974-0022

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About The Apollo

The Apollo is an American cultural treasure. It is a vibrant non-profit organization rooted in the Harlem community that engages people from around New York, the nation, and the world. Since 1934, The Apollo has celebrated, created, and presented work that centers Black artists and voices from across the African Diaspora. It has also been a catalyst for social and civic advocacy. Today, The Apollo is the largest performing arts institution committed to Black culture and creativity.

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The Apollo is a commissioner and presenter; catalyst for new artists, audiences, and creative workforce; and partner in the projection of the African American narrative and its role in the development of American and global culture.

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The Apollo envisions a new American canon centered on contributions to the performing arts by artists of the African diaspora, in America and beyond.

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