The carpet was red hot. The attendees were glowing. The APOLLO has seen it all.
The legendary theatre represents many. But above all, stands firm as a testament to the black narrative. The APOLLO only strives to give back. And the 12th Annual Spring Gala – its biggest fundraising event – is an example of just that, having raised over $2.2 million.
Who’s who in black entertainment made their appearance, with characters such as Ceelo Green, Stan Lathan and Savion Glover hitting the scene, the questions had to be asked.
What does it mean for you to support APOLLO?
Stan Lathan: It’s an honor to be here. I feel privileged to be here. We all get to be recognized out here.
Ray Crew: Well, it actually continues. It’s a continuing part of the wonderful story and the legacy. The legacy continues. The great legend of the APOLLO and those that’ve graced the stage of it: Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and you know, what it means to be a person of that and add my name to this wonderful list. The years that I’ve spent here doing SHOWTIME at the APOLLO Amateur Night, and then with Steve Harvey, it’s actually coming back. It’s coming back. It’s gonna be primetime, so that’s gonna be a big deal.
Kamilah Forbes: Well, it’s an honor to support. I think it’s a big part of my mission to continue to pull the torch, and moving it forward. And really about propelling the APOLLO into tomorrow, and that’s what I’m excited about. That’s what nights like this always remind us of: where we come from, and more importantly, where are we headed.
Wé McDonald: I feel like supporting the Apollo is like supporting everybody. The support that they give is phenomenal. And I feel like that’s just something that’s really key in everyone’s eyes. I mean, without music and art, where would we be, you know what I mean? So I feel like, with them, their support is our support.
You excited about tonight?
Ray Crew(relative to primetime q): Oh yeah. Very excited. Primetime, FOX at eight o’clock, yeah. Before we wanted 1 in the morning, yeah.
Any particular fond memories related to the theatre or Harlem in general?
Kamilah Forbes: You know, I did a couple of shows as theatre director, which was fantastic. I worked here at the APOLLO theatre as a producer of content about 14 years ago.
Anyone in the acting world or in your field that you look up to?
Stan Lathan: I love a lot of actors. And I’m a director. I work with a lot of actors. I’ve worked with people that blew my mind that you’ve never heard of, you know? I can’t say. Actors are like cards, you know? They’re all great. I don’t try to compare, because mainly with different people you get different things.
Wé McDonald: Bruno Mars. His performance, and his charisma, and he can sing really amazing – it’s just endless. And he creates hits and he started as a producer, which is really just amazing.
Anything in literature that’s influenced you or your work?
Stan Lathan: No.
Ray Crew: Yeah, “Art of War”. That’s right. I read that because there’s a lot of life strategies and I refer to that a lot. You have to be ready to mentally and spiritually combat those forces. That’s what it’s all about.
It’s your favorite, then?
Ray Crew: It’s one of them. Listen, I study the Bible. I study many things.
How’s the weather?
Ray Crew: Today’s ridiculously hot. It’s been cool the week before, now we got this. I’m going inside where the air’s cool.
What is your criteria for judging a good film?
Stan Lathan: It’s intrinsic. It’s like I just try to feel with my emotions or how I’m affected by it, you know? So I don’t have criteria for judging films or any kind of movie, it’s just the way I feel, that’s it.
Ray Crew: Well, I’ll tell you what, certainly with Stan Lathan, who is a friend of mine, and his body of work is great. So whenever I think of what’s a good film, well one is what kind of story are you telling. Because you have some films that are about all just action and the effects and all that, but I like a great story. And as it unfolds do I get involved with the characters? What’s the story? Does it mean something? Does it touch part of my soul? And Stan’s been able to tell some great stories.
Kamilah Forbes: Judging a film? It’s always story. Always story. It starts, begins and ends with story.
Any film that embodies that? (Directed towards Forbes)
Kamilah Forbes: Moonlight. Story, character – that’s it.
Wé McDonald: Honesty. Yeah, absolutely. Honestly in your creative vision; honesty in what goes on around the world, you know? I feel like the best actors are the people who are real. And I feel like the best films are the things that portray emotion without words, you know? Like you look at a style you can feel how something is great. Great actors, great directors, great producers – they all have that common theme. As far as creative things, I feel like a classic is like Titanic even though it’s corny, it’s still amazing that something like that has lived up right now. And the things like Pulp Fiction, and then of course most of the Independent ones – it’s great.
Savion Glover: I’m like, the worst critic ever. I like to learn. Once I go into the theatre, I go in with the preconceived notion of ‘teach me, teach me’. When I go into a theatre or movie and realize there’s nothing to be had here as far as education goes, I submit to the entertainment aspect. But I go in to learn something. Which has been a problem, actually, for me. I’m just becoming available, mentally, to go into a theatre and say “okay, I need to not be expecting an education here, it’s just entertainment. You’re gonna see Robocop or something like that,” but you know, that’s not a bad movie it’s just entertainment. Versus a movie of Spike Lee or something like that resorting to deliberate, educational proponents.