The Apollo, the renowned African American performing arts center dedicated to promoting Black arts and culture, has announced the appointment of Michelle Ebanks as its new President and CEO. With her extensive leadership experience in media, entertainment, and live events, Ebanks is set to lead the organization into a new era of modernization and expansion. Her previous role as CEO of Essence Communications, a prominent media and communications company for African American women, has equipped her with the expertise to propel The Apollo forward.
A Transformational Period for The Apollo: Taking the helm at a crucial time, Michelle Ebanks joins The Apollo as it prepares to open its new Victoria Theaters later this year. Additionally, the organization will embark on a full-scale renovation of its historic theater, a landmarked venue. These developments are part of The Apollo’s ambitious $80 million Apollo Rising 2.0 capital campaign. Ebanks succeeds Jonelle Procope, whose leadership over the past two decades transformed The Apollo into a globally recognized cultural institution.
A Vision for Engaging Diverse Communities: Charles E. Phillips, Apollo Board Chair, praises Ebanks’ ability to create captivating cultural experiences for diverse communities. He emphasizes that her extensive knowledge will guide The Apollo in engaging artists, audiences, and partners throughout New York, nationally, and internationally. Phillips believes that Ebanks’ appointment comes at a time of strength for The Apollo, positioning it as one of the nation’s premier cultural institutions.
Michelle Ebanks’ Vision: Michelle Ebanks expresses her enthusiasm for joining The Apollo during this significant phase of its journey. She acknowledges the profound impact The Apollo has had on Black and American culture, locally and globally. Ebanks looks forward to expanding the organization’s physical presence, supporting artists at all stages of their careers, collaborating with Harlem and global partners, and providing a platform for African American artists across the diaspora.
Reflecting on The Apollo’s Legacy: The Apollo has been a welcoming home for artists of color for nearly nine decades. It has played a pivotal role in advocating for Black culture, creativity, and the performing arts in New York and across the United States. Outgoing CEO Jonelle Procope expresses her excitement for the innovative and forward-thinking ideas that Ebanks will bring to The Apollo, confident that the organization will thrive under her leadership.
Michelle Ebanks’ Accomplishments: Previously serving as President of Essence Communications Inc., Michelle Ebanks was responsible for advancing Time Inc.’s businesses within African American and Hispanic communities. Under her leadership, Essence Communications Inc. became the top media and communications company dedicated to African American women. Ebanks oversaw Essence magazine, Essence.com, and the internationally renowned Essence Festival of Culture, attracting millions of attendees annually.
About The Apollo: As the soul of American culture, The Apollo has played a vital role in nurturing emerging artists and launching legendary careers. With its upcoming expansion and renovation projects, The Apollo is poised for further innovation. The organization’s programming encompasses various art forms, including music, dance, theater, and spoken word. Notable productions include The Blues and Its People, the theatrical adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, and the opera We Shall Not Be Moved. The Apollo continues to provide a platform for new artists through its iconic Amateur Night contests, which have helped shape numerous musical genres over the decades.
Michelle Ebanks’ appointment as the new President and CEO of The Apollo marks an exciting chapter for the organization. With her extensive experience and visionary leadership, Ebanks is poised to lead The Apollo into a future that embraces diverse audiences, supports artists, and expands the reach of African American arts and culture. As The Apollo continues to evolve, its legacy as
the soul of American culture remains strong. The Apollo’s commitment to innovation, education, and advocacy ensures that it will continue to be a transformative force in the performing arts landscape.
Under the leadership of Michelle Ebanks, The Apollo is poised to embark on a journey of growth and modernization. With her wealth of experience in media and entertainment, Ebanks brings a unique perspective to the organization. Her tenure at Essence Communications Inc., where she led the number one media and communications company dedicated to African American women, showcases her ability to create impactful experiences for diverse communities.
The Apollo’s upcoming projects, including the opening of the Victoria Theaters and the renovation of the Historic Theater, signify a new chapter in the organization’s history. These endeavors will expand the physical footprint of The Apollo and provide state-of-the-art facilities for artists and audiences to enjoy. The $80 million Apollo Rising 2.0 capital campaign exemplifies the commitment to excellence and sets the stage for even greater achievements.
With a focus on collaboration and inclusivity, Michelle Ebanks aims to strengthen partnerships within Harlem and across the world. She recognizes the importance of amplifying the voices of African American artists and providing them with a platform to showcase their talents. The Apollo’s future programming will continue to celebrate the rich diversity of Black culture, extending its legacy through contemporary lenses.
The Apollo’s role as a nurturing ground for emerging artists remains integral to its mission. From Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday to James Brown and Lauryn Hill, the organization has launched countless legendary careers. By fostering creativity, supporting new talent, and showcasing groundbreaking performances, The Apollo will undoubtedly continue to shape the future of the performing arts.
As Michelle Ebanks takes the reins of The Apollo, she does so with reverence for the organization’s storied history and an unwavering dedication to its future. The Apollo’s influence reaches far beyond its physical walls, resonating with communities worldwide. With her visionary leadership, Ebanks is poised to lead The Apollo into an era of even greater impact, solidifying its position as the nation’s premier African American performing arts organization.
To learn more about The Apollo and stay updated on its exciting developments, visit their website at www.ApolloTheater.org. As The Apollo sets its sights on the future, the organization invites audiences, artists, and supporters to join them on this extraordinary journey, celebrating the vibrant tapestry of African American arts and culture that continues to thrive at The Apollo, now and for generations to come.