Charles Phillips Named New Chairman of Apollo Theater Board of Directors, Donates $1M to Emergency Fund

Charles Phillips
Charles Phillips
Photo: Shahar Azran Photography

It’s always showtime at the Apollo Theater, but the historic theater is also announcing some business moves.


According to a press release sent to The Root, Charles Phillips (managing partner and co-founder of Recognize; board member of ViacomCBS) has been elected as the nonprofit theater’s new chairman of the board of directors. Phillips will succeed Richard “Dick” Parsons, who served on the board since 2015. Additionally, Phillips has marked his new appointment with a $1 million gift to the Apollo Theater’s Emergency Fund, which is, of course, especially necessary this year as the theater had to shut down due to the global pandemic. Like many organizations in the arts field, the Apollo has pivoted to a digital stage.

“The Apollo Theater has been the keeper of the culture and a vibrant platform for artistic innovation for over 86 years. I am honored to partner with my good friends and great leaders, Jonelle Procope and Dick Parsons and the board of trustees for the next stage of growth and discovery at the Apollo,” Phillips said in a statement.

More info on Phillips’ new role and Parsons’ contribution, via the press release:

As the new Chairman, Mr. Phillips will also continue championing the non-profit Theater’s programming, educational, and community initiatives, and support the Apollo’s commitment to providing a home for artists and the community. Mr. Parsons—who has led the Apollo’s Board since 2001, raised over $100 million for the organization, and was integral in preserving the cultural landmark as a place for innovation and Black excellence—has been elected Chairman Emeritus and will remain on the Board’s Executive Committee, serving as a senior advisor to the Theater.

“From his work on the Board’s Executive Committee to his generous $1 million gift to the Theater at this critical time, Charles’ commitment to the Apollo has been immense. His support, coupled with additional donations from many donors, has enabled us to meet the Emergency Fund’s $4 million goal, allowing us to create dynamic, free events and education programs on the Apollo Digital Stage and ensuring that we continue to serve our community even though our physical doors remain closed,” Apollo Theater President and CEO Jonelle Procope said in a statement. “Dick’s contributions to the Apollo are immeasurable and his ongoing support invaluable. He anchored the turnaround of the Apollo Theater and set the institution on the path to success, and I am tremendously grateful to him for his leadership and dedication to the Apollo for over 20 years.”

“Charles has been a dynamic leader and indispensable colleague, and I know that with his commitment to the Theater the Apollo will continue to grow,” Parsons added. “I am confident that his leadership will enable the Apollo to continue to expand and enhance the many audiences we serve in Harlem and across the U.S. I look forward to continuing my work with Charles and Jonelle to ensure that the Apollo remains an indispensable part of New York City and the world.”


Congrats to Charles Phillips!

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.



Sorry to do this, but to this day I’ll immediately think of this when Charles Phillips’s name arises: