The Apollo Theater Gathers Notable Artists, Activists & Leaders for the return of the WOW – Women of the World Festival
The Apollo Theater will gather artists, activists, and leaders from around the globe for the return of the WOW – Women of the World Festival, a four-day festival presented in collaboration with the Southbank Centre London on May 4-7, 2017. Founded in 2010 by Southbank’s Artistic Director Jude Kelly and originating at Southbank Centre, London, the international festival celebrates women and girls and promotes gender equity. The Festival made its New York premiere at the Apollo in 2015. This year will feature a unique mix of performances, discussions and workshops celebrating the work of women from diverse backgrounds and exploring a variety of issues across cultural, civic, and social boundaries with a focus on empowerment and activism. Part of the institution’s current artistic season, the WOW Festival extends the Apollo’s role as a cultural and civic anchor dedicated to providing forums for meaningful discussion and exchange. Since its premiere in 2011, WOW has grown into a global movement with 20 Festivals over five continents.
“We are so honored to unite these powerful voices for the second Women of the World Festival here at the Apollo, and celebrate women from all parts of the globe who impact the world through their groundbreaking achievements and dynamic leadership,” said Kamilah Forbes, Executive Producer of the Apollo Theater. “Throughout our 83-year legacy, we continuously look for ways to celebrate and extend the Apollo Theater’s global influence on creativity. It’s important that we also provide platforms that nurture and advance women’s leadership through the arts, and provide a springboard here in Harlem for artists and leaders from the United States and internationally to discuss issues critical to our community in New York.”
Highlights of the Apollo 2017 WOW Festival include: a tribute to civil rights activist and legendary songstress Abbey Lincoln in collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, featuring powerhouse jazz vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves and Esperanza Spalding under the musical direction of GRAMMY Award-winning composer and producer Terri Lyne Carrington; WOW Teen Summit produced by the Apollo Theater’s Young Producer’s Club, which explores topics from self-esteem and body politics to teen activism, featuring a talk by Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe – presented in partnership with the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature ; a keynote conversation with the organizers of the Women’s March, Carmen Perez and Tamika Mallory; a WOW Bite talk by former WWE Wrestler, AJ Mendez Brooks; and special reading of speeches to commemorate the 100thanniversary of the women’s suffrage in New York State. The Festival will also cover discussions on women in politics, immigration rights, islamophobia and what it means to be a feminist in the 21st Century.
In addition, the weekend will feature an evening of powerful storytelling with The Moth, an innovative arts organization dedicated to the art of storytelling and celebrating the diversity and commonality of the human experience through narrative. Since its inception in 1997, The Moth has developed a large cult following and presented over 20,000 stories to standing-room-only crowds worldwide. Each week, the Peabody Award-winning Moth Radio Hour is heard on over 450 radio stations worldwide, while garnering 44 million podcast downloads yearly. The Moth Mainstage features true, personal stories by luminaries in the arts and sciences, as well as an astronaut, an undertaker, a voodoo priestess and a retired NYPD detective, among many others. Each show features five carefully selected storytellers who develop and shape their stories with The Moth’s directors.
Southbank Centre Artistic Director, and founder of WOW, Jude Kelly CBE, said “WOW is a unique global movement, the largest single community of women in the world, and we’re looking forward to bringing the WOW phenomenon to the Apollo Theater again. Women’s stories of triumph, tragedy, progress or setback are a crucial source of knowledge and by connecting women’s voices from all backgrounds, we can make new solutions together. In using all our creativity to support each other, we can find the courage to move beyond our own circles and learn how other women face challenges different from our own. WOW celebrates and learns from diversity of all kinds – and welcomes everyone to be part of this global movement for change.”
The Festival schedule will also include special presentations of Apollo Signature Programs (Live Wire, Apollo Comedy Club, Apollo Music Café, and Apollo Uptown Hall) among other sessions and workshops.
APOLLO WOMEN OF THE WORLD FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
Events will take place at the Apollo Theater.
For detailed program information visit www.apollotheater.org.
May 4-7, 2017
Thursday, May 4, 2017
The Politics of Performance
Moderated by Salamishah Tillet
Women have made an indelible imprint on popular culture, style, and the entertainment industry. From early 20th century Blues and jazz singers like Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday to more contemporary pop, hip hop, and indigenous music artists like Lauryn Hill and Beyoncé. The presence of women in the performance arena has not only influenced cross cultural style but has also served as a narrative on social consciousness and the politics of race and gender. The festival kicks off with this discussion led by scholar and author Salamishah Tillet, and will explore some iconic female artists who have taken performance to a new level, asserting their own narratives of artistic and political freedom in ways at times appealing and controversial.
- Tanisha C. Ford, Author of Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul; Assistant professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Janel Martinez, Journalist; Founder of AintILatina.com
- Nichelle Gainer, Author, Vintage Black Glamour
- Moderator: Salamishah Tillet, Co-Founder of A Long Walk Home, Inc. and Associate Professor of English & Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Apollo Comedy Club Featuring Tacarra Williams, Vernita Bostick and Kate Wolff
Hosted by Mugga
WOW takes over the Apollo Comedy Club with a special all-female line-up. Curated by Bob Sumner (producer of Def Comedy Jam, creator of LaffMobb on Aspire), the Apollo Comedy Club features the best up and coming talent in comedy today.
Friday, May, 5, 2017
Jumping at the Sun: The Moth at the Women of the World Festival
Hosted by Dame Wilburn
Join The Moth and the Apollo for stories of conviction, humility, and voices that carry. Hosted by Detroit native Dame Wilburn, this performance features five storytellers telling true personal stories from Harlem to Africa — and beyond.
Apollo Music Café Featuring Lindsey Webster with Opening Act Koku Gonza
Hosted and Curated by Jodine Dorce
Lindsey Webster is an American contemporary jazz singer-songwriter. Her song Fool Me Once reached number one on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Songs chart in February and March 2016. She is also an advocate for victims of domestic violence.
Saturday, May 6, 2017
WOW Teen Summit
Grrls, Pearls, Unfurl: Identity and Self Love in the Millennial Age
Mainstage, 11am – 12:30pm
This interactive two-part program will engage young people on issues of gender and power and its impact on their daily lives. The program will feature panels and performances exploring topics from modern beauty standards and its connection to self-esteem to the power of teen activism.
WOW Teen Summit Speaker:
Gabourey Sidibe (presented in partnership with Pen World Voices) will share her journey from Harlem to Hollywood with highlights from her irreverent and hilarious new memoir, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare. Ms. Sidibe is an Academy Award-nominated actress who made her acting debut in the 2009 film Precious. She recently made her directorial debut with the short film, The Tale of Four, and can currently be seen as “Becky” on Fox’s smash-hit sensation Empire.
- Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is an American author and tech entrepreneur. She is the founder and editor of MuslimGirl, an online magazine for Muslim women.
- Khoudia Diop is a 19 year old, Senegalese model from The “Colored” Girl: Rebirth campaign who overcame cyber-bullying to become the new face of diversity in beauty and a social media celebrity.
- Victoria Pannell is a local teen activist and the youngest member of Community Board 10. Since the age of 12, she has been lobby against child-sex trafficking.
- Hebh Jamal is an anti-islamophobia activist and the organizer of the mass NYC student walk-out in February 2017. Hebh is also a well-known advocate in education reform and co-created the first ever City-Wide Youth Council on School Integration run by IntegrateNYC4Me.
WOW Speed Mentoring
Experts across many fields will offer 15-minute individual mentoring sessions during this lighting round speed mentoring event. This event is open to the teens and young adults and is free but requires registration.
Abbey Lincoln Tribute Concert
The Apollo Theater Presents
A John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Production
Musical Direction under Terri Lyne Carrington featuring Esperanza Spaulding, Dianne Reeves and Dee Dee Bridgewater
Under the musical direction of GRAMMY Award-winning drummer, composer, and producer Terri Lyne Carrington, an all-star line-up of vocalists including Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Esperanza Spaulding will celebrate the life, music and legacy of Abbey Lincoln, presented on tour by the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. The legendary songstress and NEA Jazz Master was beloved for her powerful and unique voice, as well as for pursuing her art with integrity and using her platform to advance civil rights.
Apollo Music Café Featuring Carmen Rodgers & Zo!
Hosted and Curated by Jodine Dorce
Carmen Rodgers is a R&B singer and “artivist” who is deeply involved with several social justice projects including her most recent role as a member of the logistics team for the historic Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Joined by Zo!, the two will present tunes from all of their projects including their newest releases Stargazerand Skybreak, and more!
Sunday, May 7, 2017
BIG IDEAS * INTIMATE CONVERSATIONS
Linking Arms: Why Our Feminism Must Be Intersectional
This panel brings leaders from across the feminist movement to discuss why it matters who leads the march, explore what it takes to create an inclusive movement that also stands against racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia and classism, and the issues shaping the feminist agenda in the 21st Century.
- Jude Kelly, Moderator – Artistic Director of Southbank Centre and WOW Festival Founder
- Tamika Mallory – National Co-Chair of the Women’s March on Washington and President of Mallory Consulting
- Carmen Perez – the National Co-Chair of the Women’s March on Washington.and Executive Director of The Gathering for Justice
The M Word: Muslim-American Women on Power and Beauty
What is the unchallenged perception of a Muslim-American woman? Who gets to decide what images and narratives about women dominate in the public discourse, the media, and the literary world? Is the hijab a fashion accessory, an expression of one’s faith, or trending iconography? Is a focus on the hijab reductive? A conversation on women—by women—on what it takes to defy obsolete notions of power and beauty, and instead embrace multidimensional identities. Addressing beauty standards, cultural appropriation, faith, and feminism, this diverse panel tackles a few of the most controversial and sensitive topics in society today.
With Mara Brock Akil (Being Mary Jane, Black Lightning), Rana Abdelhamid (Hijabis of New York), Mona Haydar (‘Ask A Muslim’) and Penina Roth (Franklin Park Reading Series). Moderator to be announced.
Presented by The M W Word: Muslim Americans Take the Mic, a PEN America series supported by Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program and by the PEN America World Voices Festival. This event is co-presented by the Apollo Theater.
I Love Myself When I’m Laughing: Finding Power Through Comedy
This panel looks at ways in which comedy has served to empower everyday life, and explores how people use humor to find success in their careers and as a tool to create political action around social issues like reproductive rights, Black Lives Matter, sexual trafficking, and gay rights. This panel features a discussion led by Lizz Winstead, co-creator of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.
This social media and activism discussion will explore what activism looks like in 2017 as well as celebrates the keyboard warriors who are on the frontlines of the struggle for human rights.
- Alaa Basatneh is a human-rights activist and a writer at Fusion focusing on the Arab world. She is the protagonist of the 2013 documentary “#ChicagoGirl.” Basatneh used social media to run the revolution in Syria. Armed with Facebook, Twitter, Skype and camera phones, she helped her social network in Damascus and Homs brave snipers and shelling in the streets.
- Moderator: Ashleigh Shackelford is a queer, non-binary Black fat femme writer, cultural producer, and artist. She is a contributing writer at Wear Your Voice Magazine and For Harriet.
Period Rights: Who gets to bleed with dignity
A frank discussion on which groups of women get easy access to feminine hygiene products, the types of products available, how periods are treated globally and legislating women’s bodies.
- Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, author of Periods Gone Public (Skyhorse, September 2017)
- NYC Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland
- Nadya Okamoto, co-founded PERIOD.
Masculinity, A Solution?
This discussion explores what it means to be a “man” today and the crucial roles they play in the pursuit for gender equality for all. Additionally, the panel will examine a range of topics from toxic masculinity, rape culture on college campuses, to women’s roles in perpetuating patriarchy.
- Robert Jones, Jr. is the literary, sociopolitical and psychosexual writer behind the Son of Baldwin blog, which explores issues that matter to queer people of color and their allies.
- Leo Sheng is a Trans Activist/Advocate and writer for MTVFounders
- Professor Robert Jensen is a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center in Austin. He is the author of Plain Radical: Living, Loving, and Learning to Leave the Planet Gracefully (Counterpoint/Soft Skull, 2015).
- Moderator: Risikat Okedeyi hosts a radio show, The LSP Effect, a weekly online show and Creative Conversations.
Give Me Body: What I Learned About Myself & The World When I Embraced & Loved My Body
This panel will discuss how the current culture of body image politics is evolving and how it has impacted our lives for better and for worse. Panelists will share personal stories about the trauma and pleasure of having “non-traditional” bodies that challenge the myths promoted via pop culture.
- Ericka Hart is a sex educator and performer who is making waves with her topless photos. Hart was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer in May 2014, and underwent a double mastectomy. After her surgery, she committed to posing topless for photo shoots in order to stand in solidarity with other women who beat breast cancer.
- Jen Ponton is a comedic force and most commonly recognized for her work on Tina Fey’s “30 Rock” and “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
Digital Dames: The Future of Women & Girls in Tech
This panel will look at the many ways in which women are impacting the tech sector. Panelists will explore the many challenges that women and girls still face who want to enter the field and the obstacles for those already working in tech. Additionally, participants will share their personal breakthroughs as women of color, as innovators, as mothers, and their future vision of women and girls in tech. This panel features a discussion with Sonya Magett, co-founder of Code & Content Academy, a nonprofit that provides coding workshops in underserved communities.
Raising Powerful Girls
A discussion on a range of child-rearing techniques and processes that can harm, heal and empower the next generation of women.
- Nadia Lopez is a Principal at NYC Department of Education.
- Dr. Stacey Patton is an American journalist, writer, author, speaker, and college professor and commentator. She is also founder of the anti-child abuse movement Spare The Kids, Inc.
- Moderator: Candace Montgomery is a Senior Director, Event Marketing at Essence Communications.
Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood: An Intimate Conversation on the Experience of Being Trans, Gifted & Black
This panel features a discussion with Octavia Lewis of the Audre Lorde Project Trans Justice School Fellow.
Co-presented by the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute
This interactive conversation celebrates what it means to be an Afro-Latina and explores the intersectionality of their identity. This event will also address the multi-layered impact of racism on the lives of Afro-Latinas across the Spanish speaking African Diaspora, from socio-economic status, to education and healthcare access, to representation in media and politics.
- Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, President CCCADI
- Nancy Morejon, Honored Poet of Cuba (presented in partnership with Pen World Voices)
- Magdalena Albizu, director of the documentary, NEGRITA; former President of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP).
Uptown Hall: The Power of New York Women
The Apollo Theater’s WOW themed Uptown Hall – The Power of New York Women will be an in-depth panel moderated by WNYC’s Jami Floyd who will exam the opportunities and obstacles women in positions of power face. How are New Yorkers impacted by what these women do? What power does an average New York woman have to lead and to influence leaders?
- Major Carter, Major Carter Group
- Professor Christina Greer, Fordham University
- Donna Lieberman, NYCLU
- Janai Nelson, NAACP LDF
- Sonia Ossorio, NOW- New York City
WOW Workshop: Warrior Women
This family-friendly craft workshop invites participants to create and design wooden door hangers of powerful She-Roes from around the world including: Mama Tingo from Santo Domingo, Queen Nanny of the Maroons, Yaa Asantewaa, Lolita LeBron, and many more.
WOW Workshop: 5 Ways To Boost Your Career On Social Media
Featuring a discussion with Mary Pryor, Director of Digital, Digital Flash New York
WOW Workshop: Self-Acceptance presented by StyleLikeU
Mother-Daughter duo Elisa Goodkind & Lily Mandelbaum, the founders of the multimedia company StyleLikeU and creators of “The What’s Underneath Project,” will lead a workshop on self-acceptance through personal style.
WOW Bites are engaging bite-sized talks delivered by fascinating women with amazing stories from all walks of life.
WOW Bite: Crazy Is My Superpower
Featuring AJ Mendez Brooks, former wrestler and three-time WWE champion Divas Champion.
WOW Bite: “Carrying The Weight: My Senior Year As ‘The Mattress Girl.'”
Featuring Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University student who became the face of sexual assault on college campuses nationwide when she carried around a 50-lb mattress as a work of endurance performance art for her senior thesis.
WOW Bite: My (Underground) American Dream – From Undocumented Immigrant To Star
Featuring Julissa Arce, political commentator, speaker, writer and author of MY (UNDERGROUND) AMERICAN DREAM.
WOW Bite: Harlem: The New Tech Frontier
Featuring Jessica O. Matthews, founder of Uncharted Play, a renewable energy company specializing in motion-based, miniaturized power systems.
WOW Bite: Con Cuatro En Una Casa: How I Make Single Motherhood Look Good
Featuring Yvette Russell
WOW Bite: My Hijabi Chronicles
Featuring Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, photographer and recent recipient of the Reporting Grant from the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF).
WOW Bite:Kindness Is Magic: 25 Acts of Kindness to Incorporate Into Your Life Everyday Featuring Tere Geckle
WOW Speed Mentoring
The speed-mentoring events are open to women at all stages of their careers from various fields and industries. These one-hour sessions will be divided up into 15 minute sections, allowing the attendees to visit up to four mentors.
Julie Scelfo, author of The Women Who Made New York, reads from the chapter of her book entitled “The Aunties,” which features four women who helped their immigrant communities feel more at home in New York–while also protecting and celebrating cherished cultural traditions from back home.
Suffrage Readings: Activists and Performers will gather to read excerpts from famous suffrage speeches from around the world. Shirley McAlpine, business coach, facilitator and consultant, will launch her podcast live at the WOW festival. She, along with a roundtable of panelists, will share inspiring stories and offer tips on how to be a woman with DRIVE.
Tickets for the Women of the World Festival can be purchased at the Apollo Theater Box Office beginning Friday, March 20 at 10am, online at www.apollotheater.org, via Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000, and at Ticketmaster.com.
Apollo Theater Box Office Hours
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri – 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Wednesday – 10:00 am – 8:30 pm
Saturday – 12:00 pm – 6:00pm
About WOW – Women of the World Festival
Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World festival is a global festival movement launched by Artistic Director Jude Kelly CBE in London in 2010 (with the first festival in March 2011, the centenary of International Women’s Day). It has since grown into the world’s largest festival network of its kind, reaching nearly two million people in 20 countries across five continents, and growing year on year. With the HRH Duchess of Cornwall as President, Southbank Centre is now planning a WOW Commonwealth festival at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 with all 53 nations. Each festival across the world – made up of talks, debates, music, activism, mentoring, pop ups and performance – celebrates women and girls, takes a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, and raises awareness globally of the issues they face and possible solutions. It reaches girls and women, boys and men from a broad range of social backgrounds and supplies a completely different sense of action and energy than a conventional conference approach. Speakers have included Malala Yousafzai, Christine Lagarde, Salma Hayek, Annie Lennox, Gordon Brown, Julie Walters, Patrick Stewart and many more including hundreds of women and men who don’t have public profiles but are working everyday to achieve gender equality. wow.southbankcentre.co.uk
About the Apollo Theater
The legendary Apollo Theater—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging talents 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.
With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes the October 2014 premiere and 2015 international tour of the dance celebration project James Brown: Get on the Good Foot, the annual Africa Now! Festival, and the recent New York premiere of the opera Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD. The Apollo is a presenting organization that also produces festivals, large-scale dance and music works organized around a set of core initiatives: Apollo Music Signature Programs—Amateur Night, Salon Series, Apollo Music Café; Legacy Series— work that celebrates and extends the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens; Global Festivals including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival and Breakin’ Convention, international and U.S.-based artist presentations focused on a specific theme; and Special Projects, multidisciplinary work with partner organizations.
Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater 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 D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, Miri Ben Ari, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy.
The Apollo Theater is a not-for-profit organization with the mission to extend the institution’s role in fostering artistic innovation and in building appreciation of American culture around the world. For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org .
About Southbank Centre
Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, comprising three iconic buildings (Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery) and occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Building on this rich heritage, Southbank Centre offers an extensive artistic and cultural programme including annual and one-off themed festivals, many of which tour the world, and classical and contemporary music, performance, dance, visual art and literature and spoken word events throughout the year. Under Jude Kelly’s leadership Southbank Centre has become world renowned for its bold programme which focuses on the influence arts and culture can have in creating a more progressive and inclusive world. 50% of its work is free to ensure that everyone is welcome regardless of financial means. www.southbankcentre.co.uk
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Lead support for the Apollo’s Women of the World Festival provided by Citi, Time Warner Inc., the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts.
Leadership support for Apollo Education Programs provided by the Ronald O. Perelman Family Foundation, Coca-Cola Foundation, and The Jerome L. Greene Foundation.
Public support for the Apollo Theater is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.