On Monday (June 13), Tyler Perry was honored by the Apollo Theater with the Impact Award at the annual Spring Benefit Gala. During his acceptance speech, the entertainment mogul announced his $500,000 donation to the legendary theater. According to a press release, the evening raised a record-breaking $3.7 million, the largest amount ever raised during this event.
Hosted by Kenan Thompson, attendees included Phylicia Rashad, Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel & LaTanya Jackson, Susan Kelechi Watson, Daymond John, and more. Hip-Hop soul band The Roots performed and additional special appearances were made by Stephanie Mills, Anthony Hamilton, Ogi, D-Nice, and Marching Cobras.
“My studio was once a former Confederate-owned army base where there were 3.9 million negroes and slaves at the time, and there were Confederate soldiers plotting and planning how to keep them enslaved,” Perry explained in his speech.
He continued, “While now that land is owned by one negro and I know the importance of what it means to honor that and honor the history of what it has been, and what it has been and to redirect it and rechange it. So it’s very important to me that we all give and support, and with that said, I’d like to give a half-million dollars to make sure this place continues to grow and thrive.”
During the gala, Bulova watches unveiled a first look at its Apollo timepiece commemorating the historic institution. Kenan Thompson and Susan Kelechi Watson recreated his popular Saturday Night Live Black Jeopardy skit. LionTree received the Corporate Award and the Apollo Theater non-profit announced it will release a limited edition non-fungible token (NFT) commemorating the annual event.
According to a press release, “The Apollo season’s theme, ‘The Renaissance is Now!,’ and its presentations expanded the non-profit theater’s role as a partner, commissioner, and co-producer of programming that centers Black artists and voices from the African Diaspora, while tackling social issues that are important to Harlem, New York, and the nation.”
Check out an event recap shared by the Apollo Theater on Instagram and images from the 2022 Apollo Theater Gala below.