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February 7, 2018

WNET Celebrates Black History Month with Song, Film & Conversation at the Apollo Theater

This past weekend, WNET joined the Apollo Theater for their annual Open House Weekend celebrating the achievements and excellence of the African American community. The free two-day event kicked off Black History Month with song, film, and conversation featuring many members of the WNET family.

NJTV NewsMichael Hill and Billy ‘Mr. Apollo’ Mitchell emceed Saturday’s festivities, which included conversations and performances connecting the arts and civil rights under the theme “Still, We Rise:” Apollo Amateur Night’s Capone; Apollo Comedy Club’s Mugga; Harlem Arts Alliance members Tyrone Birkett | Emancipation, Urban Word NYC, Annette A. Aguilar and String Beans; LaRocque Bey Dance Theatre; Soul Science Lab and more. Michael Hill also joined Soul Science Lab and the team from Sounds of Change in a conversation about the relationship between the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s and the art and culture of its time. Both groups have productions on the subject this month: Soul Science Lab with Soundtrack ‘63 at the Apollo on February 24 and Sounds of Change at Carnegie Hall.

L-R: Raphael Pi Roman, Stanley Nelson, Jelani Cobb, and Simone Missick

The focal point of the second day of Apollo Open House weekend was an advance screening of Stanley Nelson’s new film Tell Them We Are Rising – The Story of Black Colleges and Universities which premieres on February 19 at 9pm on THIRTEEN. Co-hosted by THIRTEEN, Independent Lens, Firelight Media, and the Apollo, the audience was filled with members of the public, Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) graduates, prospective students, and invited groups from local Harlem organizations, eager to share the film with their communities. Following the screening, Delaware State University’s Marching Band – The Approaching Storm – wowed the crowd with a performance featuring a cover of Kendrick Lamar’s “We Gon’ Be All Right.” Their performance set the tone for an all-star panel including Stanley Nelson, Jelani Cobb and Simone Missick moderated by MetroFocus host Rafael Pi Roman on the future and impact of HBCU’s in the United States.

The Delaware State University Marching Band performs on stage at the Apollo

Footage from Sunday’s panel will be posted to the “THIRTEEN in the Community” page in the coming days. If you are interested in learning more about the Apollo as they celebrate their 80th anniversary this year, head to metrofocus.org for a segment from February 1 and stay tuned for more as they continue to feature the Apollo in future planned programming.

All images courtesy of Joseph Sinnott.

L-R: Jelani Cobb, Simone Missick, Raphael Pi Roman, Stanley Nelson

Filmmaker Stanley Nelson with MetroFocus’ Raphael Pi Roman

The audience watching Tell Them We Are Rising – The Story of Black Colleges and Universities on Sunday

The Approaching Storm prepares for their Apollo Debut!

External Relations’ Jessi Olsen distributes THIRTEEN Program Guides to attendees

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