Babyface, Usher to be honored at Apollo gala, superstar lineup announced

NEW YORK — Babyface and Usher wont be the only R&B greats taking the stage during the Apollo Theater‘s 2024 spring gala.

Organizers announced Tuesday that singers Jordin Sparks, Johnny Gill, Karyn White and Avery Wilson will perform during the June 11 event, which supports the legendary Harlem venue’s year-round artistic and community programs.

Marking the Apollo’s 90th anniversary, the gala will also feature a special appearance by Big Daddy Kane with Emmy Award-winner Adam Blackstone serving as musical director.

Babyface is set to receive the Apollo’s inaugural Legacy Award while Usher will receive the Icon Award.

“I am humbled to receive the inaugural Legacy Award,” Babyface said in a statement. “For nearly a century, the theater has been a constant symbol of excellence in Black entertainment. So, for The Apollo to honor my legacy feels nothing short of amazing.”

Babyface (born Kenneth Edmonds) will also be inducted into its Apollo Walk of Fame on June 10, joining the likes of Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Richard Pryor, Jackie “Moms” Mabley and most recently, Mary J. Blige. A plaque with his name will be installed under the theater’s iconic marquee on 125th Street.

Usher, who worked closely with the 13-time super-producer during their LaFace Records heyday, added: “It’s an honor to be receiving this award from such an iconic and historic cultural institution in New York City – one that has hosted and paved the way for so many prominent people. I’m humbled to be this year’s recipient and look forward to seeing everyone soon.”

DJ D-Nice will return to rock the wheels of steel at the benefit’s after-party.