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Usher, Babyface Honored At The Apollo Theater's 90th Anniversary

Usher Raymond, Babyface, Big Daddy Kane and Jordin Sparks, among others, celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Apollo Theater.

According to NBC News, last Tuesday the Apollo Theater held its annual spring benefit, which is the spectacle’s largest annual fundraising effort, raising a whopping $3 million.

Apollo Theater

It was Sparks who opened the event with an exceptional medley of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, Aretha Franklin’s Respect, and Chaka Khan’s I’m Every Woman.

Then, all of a sudden, the hilarious, yet gorgeous Kym Whitley emerged as the host, joking about producer Babyface, who, of course, was being honored, arguing that he should now be known as “Grown-man-face, sexy-face, kiss-your-face.”

She would go on to elaborate on her story at The Apollo, sharing with the audience that it was on that stage that she made her debut as a stand-up comedian on television.

“If you can make it at The Apollo,” she said, "you can make it anywhere.”

Speeches were given by Apollo representatives, including President/CEO Michelle Ebanks, chairman of the board Charles Phillips, executive producer Kamilah Forbes and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Apollo Theater - Usher

Of course, it was the performances that got the crowd clapping, and giving standing ovations. Dancers were performing for Usher to his songs, including Yeah!, Caught Up, and Confessions Part II.

Usher was presented with the Icon Award.

Amid his speech, he hearkened back to watching Showtime at The Apollo with his grandmother.

“I remember thinking, ‘Man, someday I’m gonna make it to that stage,’ and ‘hopefully one day, I’ll get a standing ovation,’” he said as everyone in the audience stood. “I stand before you humbled by your appreciation.”

“You know, they say if you make it in New York, you can make it anywhere,” he continued, referencing Whitley’s comments from earlier. “Well, if you can make it to The Apollo, you can do anything.”

Apollo Theater - Babyface

Kwanza Jones and Fat Joe, winners of The Apollo’s famed Amateur Night, led the crowd in a singalong to Babyface’s 1989 hit, Soon as I get Home. They introduced Babyface, who earned the inaugural legacy award at The Apollo Theater’s 2024 Walk of Fame ceremony.

“I never imagined I would get this,” Babyface said during Monday’s ceremony. “I never saw myself actually, you know, being here at The Apollo. I didn’t want to perform here because I didn’t want to get booed, but I didn’t get booed,” he laughed. “I’m so glad that I came here for The Apollo.”

Photo Credit: Shahar Azran/The Apollo


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The fact that Usher's ambition of playing at the Apollo Theater has come true is encouraging because it shows that everything is possible with perseverance and hard effort. incredibox

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