The Apollo and WNYC Announce The 17th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration “MLK – Blueprint for the Culture”
Annual reflection on Dr. King’s legacy hosted by a team of WNYC and WQXR hosts, including
Kai Wright, Terrance McKnight, and Brian Lehrer
Introductory remarks by LaFontaine E. Oliver, President and CEO, New York Public Radio; Jonelle Procope, President and CEO, The Apollo; and Isisara Bey, Artistic Director of March on Washington Film Festival
Sunday, January 15th, 3-5pm at The Apollo
Event also live streamed on The Apollo Digital Stage and YouTube and
recorded for national broadcast on WNYC’s Notes from America that evening at 6pm ET
Event presented in collaboration with March on Washington Film Festival
(New York, NY – Thursday, January 5) — WNYC and The Apollo present the 17th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration, “MLK–Blueprint for the Culture,” programmed as part of The Apollo’s Uptown Hall series, on Sunday, January 15 at 3pm.
Live and in-person for the first time since the pandemic, this annual co-production between two of New York City’s leading media and cultural institutions has become the city’s signature event commemorating the political, cultural, and social legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This year’s event, entitled “MLK–Blueprint for the Culture,” explores the relationship between Dr. King and the civil rights movement of the 1960s and contemporary social and civil justice movements. Kai Wright, host of Notes from America – a WNYC Studios’ national call-in radio show and podcast about the unfinished business of our history and its grip on our future – will be joined by Chelsea Miller, activist and co-founder of Freedom March NYC. They will reflect on Nina Simone’s legendary song “Young, Gifted and Black” and focus on how young people are impacting society through activism, engagement, and a commitment to justice.
WQXR’s Terrance McKnight hosts the second half of the program alongside performances by a range of musicians and artists, including the diverse musical collective Harlem Chamber Players, the multi-faceted vocal ensemble Dream Launchers, and American tenor Chauncey Packer, among other musical guests.
LaFontaine Oliver, the new President and CEO of New York Public Radio, Jonelle Procope, President and CEO of The Apollo, and Isisara Bey, Artistic Director of March on Washington Film Festival will give opening remarks.
“We are thrilled to partner once again with the historic Apollo Theater to honor Dr. King’s legacy, and are particularly excited to share this event live from the heart of Harlem with audiences across the country and around the globe on radio and digital platforms as well,” said Brenda Williams-Butts, Chief Diversity Officer at New York Public Radio, and co-founder of WNYC’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. event. “This year, we’re shining a light on young people – celebrating a new generation of activists who are the inheritors of Dr. King’s commitment to fighting unjust laws, racism, poverty, and oppression. We’ll also explore the rich musical legacy of the civil rights era through live musical performances. We’re proud to bring new context and layers each year to the ways Dr. King remains ever relevant to our times.”
LIVESTREAM, NATIONAL RADIO BROADCAST and STANDBY TICKETS – The event will be available to digital audiences everywhere as a livestream via Apollo Digital Stage and on The Apollo’s Facebook, as well as on WNYC’s and The Apollo’s YouTube pages. WNYC’s nationally-syndicated radio show Notes From America with Kai Wright will record the event for broadcast later that evening at 6pm ET.
In-person standby tickets are available on the day of the event.
With an urban vibrancy and a global perspective, WNYC is New York’s public radio station, broadcasting and streaming award-winning journalism, groundbreaking audio programming and essential talk radio to the city and beyond. WNYC is a leading member station of NPR and broadcasts programs from the BBC World Service, along with a roster of WNYC-produced local programs that champion the stories and spirit of New York City and the surrounding region. From its state-of-the-art studios, WNYC is reshaping audio for a new generation of listeners, producing some of the most beloved nationally-syndicated public radio programs including Radiolab, On the Media, The New Yorker Radio Hour, and The Takeaway. WNYC broadcasts on 93.9 FM and AM 820 to listeners in New York and the tri-state area, and is available to audiences everywhere at WNYC.org, the WNYC app and through major digital radio services, all made possible through the generous support of our members, donors and sponsors.
About The Apollo
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. In 2023, The Apollo will open The Apollo’s Victoria Theaters, which will include two new theater spaces, and begin the renovation of its Historic Theater, marking the first ever expansion and renovation of The Apollo in its nearly 90-year history. Read more about the project here: www.apollotheater.org/renovation-restoration-and-transformation/
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 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 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 www.ApolloTheater.org.
About March on Washington Film Festival
The March on Washington Film Festival was founded in 2013 in Washington, DC to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The inaugural festival attracted over 1,000 attendees to ten events over the span of two weeks at venues across Washington DC.
The flagship festival is held every year in Washington, DC, and serves as a national platform to tell, celebrate, and increase awareness of the untold events and icons and foot soldiers, known and unsung, of the Civil Rights Movement. The Festival uses film screenings as a platform for panel discussions featuring filmmakers, academics, and activists and brings together an audience that is diverse in age, class, and ethnicity.
Over the years, the Festival has proven to be a successful civil rights legacy project, connecting with tens of thousands of attendees across the nation. Participants have included writers Nikki Giovanni, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Kitty Kelley; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Eugene Robinson and Hank Klibanoff; former U.S. Attorney Generals Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch; celebrities Diahann Carroll, Yara Shahidi, and 9th Wonder; and prominent Civil Rights veterans Joyce and Dorie Ladner, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Julian Bond, Judge Damon Keith, and many others.