On Friday, Feb. 14, the world famous Apollo Theater celebrated Valentine’s Day by hosting its fourth annual Dining with the Divas luncheon, a fundraiser celebrating the extraordinary accomplishments of women in the arts and in business. Hosted by Tamara Tunie, Dining with the Divas benefits the theater’s education and community programs.
Held on the theater’s iconic stage, where legendary divas such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight have enchanted audiences, Dining with the Divas offered participants an opportunity to connect with some of the country’s most powerful, accomplished and influential women. Attendees included Michelle Adkins, Adrienne Johnson, Jacqueline Nickelberry, Rita Jammet, Yolanda Ferrell-Brown, Michelle Gadsden-Williams and Carolyn Minick Mason.
Additional guests included Jennifer Jones Austin, Jean Shafiroff, Daniella Vitale, Loida Lewis, Josie Thomas, Mercedes Cotchery, Debra Shriver, Lisa Garcia Quiroz, Lisa Price, Shawn Outler, Lesley Goldwasser, Carla Harris, Thelma Golden, Jennifer Scully-Lerner, Dr. Lisa Coico, Dawne Marie Grannum, Deborah Roberts, Regina Moore, Agnes Hassell, Maria Cornejo, Marva Smalls and Nina Garcia.
Dining with the Divas raised over $250,000, which will support the nonprofit theater’s education and community programs, which include career-day panels, in-school enrichment programs, a summer internship program, a Saturday workshop series and the Apollo’s Oral History program. Sponsors for Dining with the Divas include American Airlines, Barneys New York, Citi, Credit Suisse, Duane Reade Charitable Foundation, Estee Lauder, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley. Dining with the Divas was catered by Great Performances, with champagne provided by La Caravelle and wines from Frederick Wildman Wines.
“Dining with the Divas is a moment for the Apollo to spotlight women impacting the world through their work, and to acknowledge their role as mentors for the next generation,” said Apollo President and CEO Jonelle Procope. “The Apollo is all about paying it forward. Our education programs are training the next generation of theatrical professionals and arts audiences. Our students and young people will stand on our the shoulders as we have all stood on shoulders of others.”