Free with RSVP
Genre: Arts & Ideas
Conversation, Music, Past Event, Teen
The Apollo has long served as a launchpad for many legendary artists, showcasing their unique artistry on our historic stage. Created by participants in the Apollo Theater Academy’s High School Internship Program, Teen Takeover is a celebration of art and culture developed by the next generation of inspiring young artists and administrators in a variety of artistic disciplines.
During the pandemic, young creatives have been sharing their talents and embracing new artistic practices while cultivating new audiences across social media platforms. Curated by the creative youth, Apollo Teen Takeover 2021 picks up as we emerge from quarantine to showcase the newly acquired skills of these artists and influencers on the digital stage in an inspiring evolution of Gen Z creativity.
Teen Takeover is a part of the Apollo’s Pathway to Careers in the Arts which is generously supported by Steve and Connie Ballmer, Disney, Fund II, the Hearst Foundations, The Neuberger Berman Foundation, the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation, The Pinkerton Foundation, and the Verizon Foundation.
Teen Takeover Artists
Amiri Tulloch is a music producer and multimedia artist from New Jersey, currently attending school in New York as a student journalist and aspiring arts educator. Greatly influenced by Black people’s many creative legacies throughout history, Amiri uses sampling to create his own interpretations. His music is especially informed by free jazz, roots reggae, and hip-hop.
Askari is a Brooklyn native and rapper who has found a home in the art scene, somewhere in between the colorful work of his friends and the artists of color he roams NYC with. Askari’s oil-slick flow and nasty-face lyrics are no happy accidents; they’re the result of a perfectionist giving an excruciating level of attention to detail both with the pen and on the mic.
Charmaine is a Zimbabwe-born, Toronto-based rapper who is one of Canada’s most buzzed-about new artists, with an exhilarating blend of brash hip-hop swagger and addictive R&B appeal that already has critics hailing her as rap’s Queen of the North. Charmaine has always turned to music as a source of comfort and stability, penning her own songs when she was only 6 years old, and scouring the internet for performance opportunities in the hopes of writing herself a ticket to a brighter future. Spending her childhood in the American south, Charmaine’s family eventually settled in Canada. After years of writing and working in the industry, Charmaine took a step back to focus on herself and her family. When she was ready to jump back in, she collaborated with acclaimed producers/engineers Michael Lantz and David Ariza to begin work on Hood Avant Garde in late 2019, pushing her sound in an adventurous new direction that mixed the ’90s hip-hop she grew up listening to with the southern rap she fell in love with while living in Tennessee.
Brooklyn’s own DJ Ino hails from Haiti. He is a DJ, host, and founder of CHILLive RadiO, which he created during the pandemic . Through CHILLive RadiO, he and his team curate parties with emerging artists, host open mics, pop ups, in addition to their podcast/radiO shows. DJ Ino wants to showcase the selective sound experience of creative youth by creating a safe space where they can dance, love, connect, and support each other through music and art.
Jeffrey Wall is the 16-year-old founder of Golden Age Karate. He began his martial arts career at the age of 6, and was inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame at age 10. In 2019, after earning his Blackbelt at the age of 13, he started his non profit, a volunteer organization that travels to nursing homes to provide compassion, care, and martial arts classes to seniors that otherwise may not get many visitors or attention. Since he started, he’s added several senior living centers across the US to his list of clients, including a few private companies looking to help their employees feel energized. He was even able to create a program for over 17,000 nurses as a part of the American Association of Post Acute Care Nurses conference. When COVID hit, Jeff changed the way he offered services by launching a YouTube Channel, hosting outdoor socially distant classes, and engaging sponsors to provide masks for not only his “Ninja Nanas” and “Ninja Papas”, but for all of the residents in the senior facilities he services.
Kiana Jackson Thorn
Kiana Jackson Thorn
Kiana Sydney Jackson Thorn is a painter from Seattle, Washington. Fortunate enough to have grown up surrounded by individuals who help others and show empathy, she turned to art as an outlet to amplify her voice against systems of inequality, especially when the pandemic hit. She was preparing to graduate from Hawaii Pacific University in the early days of quarantine, while witnessing the inhumane killings of Black Americans, triggering her anxiety and feelings of loneliness. She decided to paint as a form of therapy, launching her project, Women Like Me. Women Like Me, Women Like You supports and recognizes underrepresented women who have been outcast by others. Kiana paints women’s bodies to highlight their beauty in all forms, hoping that they see themselves within them. She shares a portion of her proceeds to support a local women’s nonprofit, Mary’s Place. They assist homeless women and children with housing and other supportive programs in Seattle. Kiana has been able to grow her business through social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, where she has been able to sell her paintings and spread her message all over the world. She wants to use her own talents to create change and show that women matter across the globe.
Michael Codrington - Host
Michael Codrington - Host
Michael Codrington is a Senior English Major with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in theater at Howard University. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, where he has spent the majority of the pandemic, and has continued to grow his platform, The Polaroid Podcast. The Polaroid Podcast is an interview-style show, focused on highlighting and amplifying the voices of everyday people. The platform aims to showcase what’s next for young black creatives. Each episode is unique and bookmarked by a polaroid picture of Michael and his guest. Aside from the podcast, he has been working diligently on a coming of age memoir, and an anthology of poetry. After graduation, he will pursue a career in education and literature, ultimately looking to contribute to the betterment of Black NYC youth.
Sierra Sesay, also known as SIERRASINVOGUE, is a Creative Director, stylist and a business owner. During quarantine, Sierra dove into her creativity and built a brand that people would remember her for: SIERRASINVOGUE. She creates pants, crewnecks, and shorts out of woven blankets, and has filled over 140 orders to date; Sierra is now starting to venture into creating other pieces. She is taking her social media seriously, crediting it with allowing her to start a business within six months. While Sierra is expanding her business, she is also exploring modeling. She is looking forward to formalizing her fashion education at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and is extremely hopeful for what the future holds.
Stephany Solis is a Senior at the University at Albany, completing a degree in Public Health with a minor in political science. She is passionate about health access and literacy, serves as a CURCE (Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement) ambassador, and is a researcher for the Albany Birth Justice Storytelling Project. On campus, she serves as a residential assistant and is the former Vice President of the South American Student Association. Outside of school, Stephany is the founder of the racial justice collective “Mahopac for Racial Justice”, a youth-led organization in Mahopac, New York. Her organization creates fundraisers and events to support residents of color within the community and enact social reform in the region. The work Mahopac for Racial Justice has done has been featured in the New York Times, ABC News, and has been recognized by the New York State Senate. In Albany, she also serves as a Student Assistant at the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Prevention (OMH-HDP) for the New York State Department of Health. She is one of two recipients of the John Lewis Scholarship and this summer she will be interning in Oakland, California at the Public Health Institute.
Tina is a dancing mascot from Harlem who has used her time during quarantine to increase her visibility. She has been featured in videos and on a Billboard in Times Square. Tina was recently named Miss Harlem Shake 2021, a title she holds dear. She plans to continue to showcase her unique talents to the world, as she does it for the culture and for her community.
whoswyLee (also known as “feat wyLee”) is a Shona multi-disciplinary artist based in Johannesburg. Since the start of their career, whoswyLee has opened for AlunaGeorge, D.R.A.M., Mykki Blanco, Bbymutha & Dounia and has appeared on the Huffington Post show “BARS”. At present, their primary pursuit as an artist is to “facilitate and participate in the cultural and community moment that art creates,” says wyLee. “When I share my work, I’m offering up my pain, my joy, my longing and reaching out to ask, ‘Anybody else feel this way?’ … There’s nothing that beats the feeling of seeing someone enjoy your music or listen to a song that feels like it was MADE for you and realizing, ‘Hey. They hear me.’ ” Throughout quarantine, whoswyLee has been growing as a producer and storyteller in preparation for a project that they consider to be “a collective work of Black science fiction”. This performance serves as the prologue to a story they hope to begin telling in full next year.