Building a Legacy: Kwanza Jones and The Apollo

By Team Kwanza Jones

building a legacy

The Roots of a Legacy

Let's talk about legacy. It's a powerful concept that extends far beyond the simple act of leaving something behind. Legacy is about creating a lasting impact, influencing future generations, and making sure that the pathways we build today remain open and accessible for those who come after us. And if you want a perfect example of someone who embodies this idea, look no further than Kwanza Jones and her journey with The Apollo's Historic Theater.

A Young Girl's Introduction to The Apollo

Imagine being a young girl, walking hand-in-hand with your father into one of the most iconic theaters in the world. For Kwanza, the Queen of Energy, this was her reality. Her father who supported The Apollo while he was alive, introduced her to a world of rich cultural heritage and endless possibilities. These early experiences at The Apollo planted the seeds of civic responsibility and a love for the arts, setting the stage for a lifetime of giving back.

From Performer to Patron

Kwanza's connection with The Apollo deepened in the 90s when she won Amateur Night. This wasn't just a victory for her; it was a nod to the countless artists who found their voice on that historic stage. Years later, she returned, not just as a performer but as a board member and a premier sponsor of The Apollo's Spring Benefit events, including the 90th anniversary. Her support highlights her commitment to ensuring The Apollo remains a beacon of access and opportunity.

Celebrating Legacy at The Spring Benefit

The Spring Benefit, The Apollo's signature fundraiser, is more than just a glamorous event. It's a celebration of the theater's rich legacy and a commitment to its future as a mission-led arts and cultural organization, a community anchor, and an economic driver for Harlem and New York City. For the Queen of Energy, supporting The Apollo is about more than preserving history; it's about creating opportunities for artists, especially those of color, to have their voices heard and their talents recognized.

Fostering Community and Opportunity

Kwanza's dedication is evident in her actions. In 2022, she brought the SUPERCHARGED Teamily to the Spring Benefit, giving us a firsthand experience of The Apollo's magic. The following year, she invited faculty and scholars from Bennett College, emphasizing the importance of educational and cultural enrichment. By 2024, her circle of attendees expanded to include friends and family, underscoring her belief in the power of community.

Honoring the Icons

One of the most remarkable moments of her involvement came during the 2024 Spring Benefit when Kwanza, alongside Fat Joe, who also won the Amateur Night during his time, presented the Legacy Award to the legendary Babyface. This moment was more than an award presentation; it was a celebration of those who have paved the way and a recognition of the ongoing work needed to support the next generation of artists.

A Conversation Through Culture

For Kwanza, culture is a conversation. Supporting The Apollo during its 90th anniversary is her way of saying "thank you" to a space that has continually created opportunities for diverse voices. It's about ensuring these conversations continue, fostering learning and growth through the sharing of stories and experiences.

The Power of Legacy

Kwanza’s journey with The Apollo is a testament to the power of legacy. Her dedication to boosting humanity through culture, community, and capital is evident in every step she takes. By supporting The Apollo, she ensures that future generations have the same opportunities to succeed and shine. And in doing so, she carries forward the legacy of her father, who instilled in her a profound sense of duty to uplift and support others.

So, when we talk about legacy, think of Kwanza Jones. Think of her journey with The Apollo Theater and the countless lives she's impacted through her dedication and generosity. Legacy is about creating lasting change, and Kwanza, our Queen of Energy is a shining example of how one person's commitment to a cause can leave an indelible mark on the world.

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