Even though March is approaching, that does not mean that the Black History Month celebration should start slowing down. One of the latest BHM events was the Residence Hall Association’s annual “Live at the Apollo” open-mic event. The event is meant to be a celebration of Black artists and performers as well as serve as a history lesson for students on the importance of the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York.
The Apollo Theater opened in 1914 and its amateur nights in the early 1930s served as the home for the blossoming genres of jazz, blues, swing and rhythm and blues. It was on the stage of the Apollo Theater that perform- ers like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sam- my Davis Jr., James Brown, Lauryn Hill and many others found their voices.
Following years of success, in 1983 the Apollo Theater would become a city land- mark, but it was a cultural one well before that. Today, the theater still stands as the home for rising black artists, charity orga- nizations and fundraisers (President Barack Obama held a campaign fundraiser there in 2007, for example).
“Live at the Apollo” has been an event to celebrate that history; however, the Covid-19 pandemic led to the event being canceled last spring. The RHA was able to bring back the event full force this year.
On Wednesday, Feb. 16, McFeely’s Cafe be- came a mini museum covered in posters each detailing the history of acclaimed Black art- ists and the theater that put them on the map.
It would not be “Live at the Apollo” with- out performances by Shippensburg Universi- ty’s own student body. The night included an acapella performance of “Revelation” by the Harmonic Voices of Truth.
Tyler Hill and Montez Lockhart represent- ed the Heritage Dancers with their electrify- ing dance number to Beyonce’s “Everybody Mad.”
The String and Wind Ensemble also gave the event a classical touch and the night con- cluded with Elite Modeling owning the stage with their best catwalk performances.
Even if you weren’t performing at “Live at the Apollo,” the event still provided a fun and
safe space for all students. Backed by a cu- rated playlist, students were offered popcorn and coloring pages dedicated to Black women and their beauty.
“Live at the Apollo is an awesome oppor- tunity for us to be able to highlight the im- portance and influence Black artists have had on society and our students,” Jeff Ward, the RHA adviser, said. “This event allowed us to do so and I couldn’t be more thankful for ev- eryone who performed, as well as those who came to show their support and appreciation of those individuals.”
While “Live at the Apollo” has passed, there are still many events scheduled for the next two weeks.
From the Black History Month Dinner at Reisner Dining Hall, the PAGE Center’s viewing of “Moonlight” or the Impact Fellow- ship Black History Month Service to close out the month, the campus has many opportuni- ties to celebrate.
Editor’s Note: Adam Beam is a member of the Residence Hall Association