The Apollo Theater Announces Fifth Bi-Annual Women of the World Festival in Partnership with the WOW Foundation: Black Women Transcending!

HARLEM, N.Y. | FEBRUARY 12, 2021 (Updated)— Today the Apollo Theater announced plans for the fifth bi-annual WOW – Women of the World Festival, an international festival that elevates the voices, experiences, and truth of women spanning all ages. The festival will take place online this year starting Saturday March 20th to Sunday March 21st via The two-day, all digital festival sets the tone with this year’s theme Black Women Transcending! and will provide global access to an array of music, film, workshops, conversations, panels and performances featuring participants including HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” award-winning actress Aunjanue Ellis; New York Times best-selling author and co-host of CBS’ “The Talk” Elaine Welteroth; poet, writer, and activist Nikki Giovanni; host of SiriusXM’s “Bevelations,” media personality and author Bevy Smith, motivational speaker, editor, and author Harriette Cole; and political and women's rights activist Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu with performances by Adeline, Julie Dexter, and many more to be announced. Festival tickets are available beginning today.

As part of the festival, the Apollo will feature a Live Wire conversation, Hazel Scott: The Darling of Café Society, part of the Apollo’s popular series that honors iconic individuals who have impacted the Theater’s history. Karen Chilton, author of “Hazel Scott: The Pioneering Journey of a Jazz Pianist,” will lead this celebration of Scott with special guests, Damien Sneed and Camille Thurman. Returning this year to the festival, WOW: Teen Summit will dissect gender politics and how it impacts girls and young women of color. Through performances from singer, songwriter and spoken-word artist Brianna Knight and singer Alyssa Martinez and a panel discussion moderated by reporter and producer Kay Angrum with community activists Akia S. Callum, Malaysia Freeman, and Hebh Jamal, audience members will be encouraged as a collective to take action towards their goals. The Festival will close with Apollo Film Presents: ImageNation’s Cocktails & Sol Cinema, featuring short films by women from around the world in speculative fiction, sci-fi, fantasy and folklore. Additional details and a complete WOW Festival line-up will be announced at a later date. WOW Apollo is presented in partnership with The WOW Foundation.


Tickets for WOW (Women of the World), the live, virtual, two-day event start at $15 (through March 13), $20 for the week of the event (March 14-21) and are available now via


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 the world premiere of the theatrical adaptation of Master Artist-in-Residence Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and the New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved; special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo; 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella; and the annual Africa Now! Festival. The non-profit Apollo Theater is a performing arts presenter, commissioner, and collaborator that also produces festivals; large-scale dance and musical works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens, including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival; as well as other 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 Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, H.E.R., D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, and Miri Ben Ari; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy. For more information about the Apollo, visit


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


Lead support for the Apollo's 2021 Women of the World Festival provided by Citi and National Geographic with additional support from Comcast.

The Apollo’s season is made possible by leadership support from Coca-Cola, Citi, Sherman Fairchild Foundation, Ford Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, the Jerome L. Greene Arts Access Fund in the New York Community Trust, HBO, and The Andrew W. Mellon 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.

Leadership support for the Apollo New Works initiative provided by the Ford Foundation.

Apollo Education Programs provided by the Ronald O. Perelman Family Foundation, BNY Mellon, Fund II, Hearst Foundations, the Jerome L. Greene Arts Access Fund in the New York Community Trust, The Pinkerton Foundation. Generous support from Apollo EmpowHer, Conscious Kids Inc., Con Edison, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Ellis L. Phillips Foundation, The Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, and public funds from 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, with special support from New York City Council Members Bill Perkins and Mark Levine.

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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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