Amateur Night 2022 winner Kofi Boakye. Photo: Larrej Drayton, Courtesy of Apollo
Child Star of Tomorrow, singer Brianna Cameron, receives $5,000 prize
The winner of America’s longest running talent show Amateur Night at The Apollo, pianist Kofi Boakye, was crowned at the show’s grand finale after he performed his signature version of “Say Yes” by Floetry. From a global pool of vocalists, rappers, dancers, instrumentalists, comedians, spoken-word artists, and other performers, Kofi Boakye was awarded the highly coveted Amateur Night Grand Prize—which has jump-started the careers of artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, H.E.R., Machine Gun Kelly and the Jackson 5—as well as $20,000. Nine-year-old singer Brianna Cameron won the Apollo audience over with her rendition of “Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston, earning her the title of “Child Star of Tomorrow” and a $5,000 prize.
An Akron, Ohio native who is now based in Boston, Massachusetts, Kofi Boakye’s creative approach to music has garnered the attention of millions globally on social media. The 23-year-old has performed at the Apollo nine times, which included getting through to the final round of the amateur competition in 2019 and playing in the Amateur Night Holiday Special that year. In 2018, he won the silver medal in the NAACP ACT-SO National Competition and recently launched his media production company, BlaBoak Ventures, which received two chapter Emmy Nominations.
“This journey has truly been incredible. Growing up in my hometown of Akron, Ohio I’ve always dreamed of moments like winning the Apollo, but you never know if you’ll be able to achieve them. To join the ranks of the Apollo legends who have graced that stage as a champion of this historic competition is truly a surreal feeling,” said Kofi Boakye.
Brianna Cameron is a celebrated child singer from Newark, New Jersey who is currently starring in the Broadway tour of Annie and has appeared as a guest and performer on the “Jennifer Hudson Show” and Showtime’s late-night talk show “Ziwe.”
“The feeling of winning first place at amateur night was absolutely amazing. I had the best time performing for the best audience in the world. I love the Apollo Theater. Thank you, Apollo!” said Brianna Cameron.
On Saturday, December 10 at 7:30PM EST, the Apollo will host a special holiday presentation of Amateur Night featuring performances by Kofi Boakye and Brianna Cameron and co-hosted by actor Christian Wilson (Michael in MJ the Musical). The Amateur Night Holiday Special will gather exciting new child stars Emelise Munoz, and Pranysqa Mishra, and Amateur Night alums Michelle Galvis, Christian Guardino, Alexis Morrast, Austin Paul, Jr., and Matthew Whitaker for a special, non-competitive evening of holiday classics and other musical hits.
The Apollo’s original, large-scale talent competition is hosted by comedian Capone (NY Kings of Comedy, Def Comedy Jam) and features perennial favorites including C.P. Lacey in the role of the “Executioner” (in charge of ushering off eliminated contestants); Greginald Spencer, the “Set It Off Man”; and Amateur Night’s longstanding famous house band led by music director, Michael Mitchell (MJ The Musical), featuring DaiQuan Davis on drums, Reggie Young on bass, and Matt Oestreicher on guitar and keyboard.
Since its inception in 1934, the Apollo’s signature Amateur Night has attracted audiences from all corners of the globe and given a platform to what are now some of the biggest names in entertainment, including D’Angelo, Luther Vandross, Lauryn Hill, and H.E.R. Amateur Night has long been revered by artists as a transformative experience where up-and-coming talent feel the power of the legendary performers who have come before them, and where audience responses can help make or break a career. As always, audience members decide the winner of this year’s championship title, participating in the competition’s nearly 90- year tradition of “cheering” and “booing” each contestant to determine who advances.
Amateur Night at the Apollo is made possible by leadership support from Coca-Cola.
Public support for the Apollo Theater is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
ABOUT THE APOLLO
The legendary Apollo—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world.
With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes the world premiere of the theatrical adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and the New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved; special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo; 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella; and the annual Africa Now! Festival. The non-profit Apollo Theater is a performing arts presenter, commissioner, and collaborator that also produces festivals and large-scale dance and musical works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens, including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival as well as other multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations.
Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, H.E.R., D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, and Miri Ben Ari; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy. For more information about the Apollo, visit www.ApolloTheater.org.