Today is the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Apollo Theater on the January 26, 1934.
The most famous club for African-American performers and popular music in the U.S. is the Apollo Theater, a continuing legacy of the Harlem Renaissance.
From the beginning, the Apollo offered amateur nights each evening, where many famous artists, such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson, and James Brown, started their show business careers.
Although its popularity declined in the 1960s and 70s, the Apollo experienced a revival when it obtained landmark status in 1983. Today the theater is run by a non-profit organization and draws an estimated 1.3 million visitors each year. It continues to promote new artists through its nationally syndicated variety show, Showtime at the Apollo.
A theater that has nurtured African-American artists, and shone a spotlight on their contributions to American music and culture for 80 years? Incredibly cool!