Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds Inducted into The Apollo Walk of Fame

WHAT:   Today, The Apollo—an icon of American culture and a globally recognized national treasure—honored 13-time GRAMMY Award-winning recording artist Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds by inducting him into The Apollo’s Walk of Fame. Celebrating and honoring the 90-year lineage of extraordinary artists who have performed on the Historic Theater stage, Babyface joined a cohort of Apollo Legends who have influenced generations of musicians, fans, and culture at large, including Prince, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Little Richard, Ella Fitzgerald, The Temptations, and most recently, Mary J. Blige in 2021—who gave remarks at the ceremony. Additional special guests included Jesse Collins, Clive Davis, Chloe Flower, Fat Joe, Stephen Hill, L.A.Reid, Darryl Simmons, Craig Robinson and Karyn White.

“It is only fitting that some of the greatest names in entertainment are here to celebrate one of the greatest names in entertainment,” said President and CEO Michelle Ebanks. “This is a spectacular historic moment here at The Apollo on what is our 90th birthday.”

“Always pushing culture forward: that is what we do 365 days out of the year [and have done] for the last 90 years and will continue to do every single day” said Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes. “And one of those ways is by our Walk of Fame. Hollywood has a Walk of Fame, but guess what? So does Harlem. The Apollo has a Walk of Fame to recognize our leaders and our legends. That’s what this institution is about, and that’s what today is about.”

“Babyface can touch any artist’s life and change it,” said 2021 inductee and GRAMMY-Award winner Mary J. Blige. “So I want to thank you for touching my life and changing it with your pen and your presence.”

“No one gets here by themselves. Nobody does it alone,” Babyface began, before thanking his supporters and collaborators. “Today, this is what ‘making it’ means. Thank you to The Apollo.”

Babyface was introduced by industry legend and music business mogul Clive Davis, who shared personal anecdotes of his time working with Babyface over the decades. The ceremony also included opening remarks from Billy “Mr. Apollo” Mitchell, The Apollo’s longtime historian. Babyface has become one of the most respected names in entertainment. The only four-time winner of the GRAMMY’s “Producer of the Year” award and the founder of the label LaFace Records, Babyface has launched the careers of global superstars like USHER, TLC, Toni Braxton, and Outkast, all while putting out his own multi-platinum albums—including Tender Lover (1989), For the Cool in You (1993), Waiting to Exhale (1995), and The Day (1996). He is one of the single most influential artists in music today, shaping culture through his artistry and collaboration with musicians including Beyoncé, Boyz II Men, Justin Bieber, Mary J. Blige, Eric Clapton, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Ariana Grande, Michael Jackson, Lil Wayne, Madonna, George Michael, Whitney Houston, and more. Babyface most recently won a 2024 GRAMMY Award for Best R&B Song (“Snooze” by SZA) and is currently working on his 12th studio album.

Alongside his induction into the Walk of Fame, Babyface is also set to receive The Apollo’s inaugural Legacy Award, to be presented at the nonprofit’s annual Spring Benefit on June 11. Also being honored at the Spring Benefit is multi-platinum recording artist USHER, who will be receiving the 2024 Icon Award.

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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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Artist on stage at Apollo Theater

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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