Music Cafe: Toni Blackman at Apollo Theater
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Toni Blackman, a poet, MC, oral historian, truth-teller and the first Hip Hop Cultural Envoy to travel with the State Department to Senegal, Ivory Coast, Congo, Ghana, Botswana and Swaziland has performed alongside Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Guru, and The Roots.
A high priestess of today’s poetry scene, she grabs the mic and dares you to blink your eyes as she blends the creative energy of trumpet Muneer Nasser, two generations of freestyle rap masters and her own soulful brand of poetic hip-hop all in tribute to Sekou Sundiata.
Apollo Music Café explores music genres from the Apollo’s heritage – R&B, hip hop, soul, jazz, pop, funk, and rock – transformed by cutting-edge artists in a stylized lounge space.
This Apollo Music Café performance is a part of the Apollo's celebration of National Poetry Month.
Venue Description: Apollo Amateur Night continues to demand and reward greatness, spurring performers to put every fiber of their being, every ounce of their emotion into pleasing the audiences that can make them an Apollo legend.
The world famous Apollo Theater is so much more than a historic landmark - it is a source of pride and a symbol of the brilliance of American artistic accomplishment. With its rich history and continued significance, the Apollo Theater, considered the bastion of African-American culture and achievement, is one of the most fascinating chronicles in American history.
It all started in 1914 when the theater was constructed on 125th Street, the heart of Harlem. Originally, it was named Hurtig and Seamon's New Burlesque Theatre and African-Americans were not allowed in the audience. In 1934: Ralph Cooper, Sr. decided to do a live version of his already popular radio show, Amateur Nite Hour at the Apollo, at the Apollo Theater, then owned by the Schiffman family. Ella Fitzgerald was one of the first Amateur Night winners. That same year, Cooper, Benny Carter and 16 Gorgeous Hot Steppers dazzled the crowds with the theater's first 'Colored Revue.' Then in 1935, Bessie Smith made her Apollo debut followed by an unknown vocalist by the name of Billie Holiday who graced the Apollo stage and mesmerized the audience with her undeniable style and talent. Soon thereafter, the Apollo Theater quickly became known the place 'Where Stars are Born and Legends are Made' and 'home' to thousands of major performance artists, fans, and patrons of the arts from around the world. The legendary venue has launched the careers of icons such as Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, James Brown and Lauryn Hill and continues to maintain its position as the nation's most popular arena for emerging and established African-American and Latino performers.