Many African-Americans made their name performing at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, including Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix. The roster of talented artists who made their careers after a successful amateur night at the Apollo grew so large, that the venue earned a reputation as the place to jump-start the career of an ambitious hopeful. Other performers, like Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson, came to the theater after experiencing big professional success, adding further credibility to the historic New York concert hall. Explore the biographies of some of the more notable African-Americans who stepped out onto the Apollo stage, making entertainment history.
Featured Apollo Theater Legends
Get to know some of the amazing entertainers who have graced the stage the World Famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. Watch video and more!
Dancer, Songwriter, Music Producer, Singer / 1958 - 2009
Singer-songwriter Michael Jackson's award-winning career as the King of Pop transformed the face of pop music and popular culture. He released the best-selling album in history, Thriller, in 1982. He died unexpectedly in 2009.
Nat King Cole
Film Actor, Television Actor, Pianist, Singer, Television Personality / 1919 - 1965
Nat King Cole became the first African-American performer to host a variety TV series in 1956. He's best known for his soft baritone voice and for singles like "The Christmas Song," "Mona Lisa" and "Nature Boy."
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Learn more about the lives of African-Americans who have made extraordinary achievements in their fields, with our collection of Black History Groups.
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Celebrate the historical icons of America's black community through this interactive journey.
- Apollo Theater Interactive Tour
- Apollo Theater Timeline
- Path to Equality
- Who Am I Game
- Harlem Renaissance