Babyface, Usher

Usher Has Full-Circle Moment Being Honored With Babyface At Apollo’s 90th Anniversary, ‘Look Where I Am Today’

Usher recalls his dreams of performing on "Showtime at the Apollo" while accepting the Icon Award at the venue's 90th anniversary.

Usher went from watching Showtime at the Apollo as a child to being honored by the historic theater as a music icon.

The superstar singer was in Harlem, New York on Wednesday, June 12, where he was honored alongside iconic singer/songwriter/producer Babyface at The Apollo’s annual spring benefit gala. This year’s fundraising event was extra special as it raised $3 million and celebrated the legendary venue’s 90th anniversary, NBC News reported.

Usher received the Icon Award and watched dancers perform a choreographed medley of his songs including “Yeah,” “Burn,” “Caught Up,” and “Confessions Part II,” among others. During his speech, the singer recalled his childhood days watching Showtime at The Apollo with his late grandmother.

“I remember thinking, ‘Man, someday I’m gonna make it to that stage,’ and ‘hopefully one day, I’ll get a standing ovation,’” he said as everyone in attendance stood and cheered. “I stand before you humbled by your appreciation.”

“You know, they say if you make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. Well, if you can make it to The Apollo, you can do anything,” he added.

The “No Limit” singer mimicked part of his speech in a heartfelt Tweet recapping his celebratory award from The Apollo. Usher held his accolade while posing outside the theater in a maroon suit.

Babyface had already received the inaugural legacy award at The Apollo Theater’s 2024 Walk of Fame ceremony the day prior. Fat Joe and Kwanza Jones, both former winners of The Apollo’s famed Amateur Night, came out to lead the crowd in a singalong of Babyface’s 1989 hit, “Soon as I Get Home.”

“To be here at The Apollo — what’s so hard for me to find the words, because if I’m honest, I just never saw myself as like being on The Apollo stage. I was always the guy behind the scenes and writing songs for everyone else,” Babyface said. “I am just in awe to be considered as part of this.”

“I’m just going to thank everybody. Normally I stand up here, I’m funnier than this. Usually, I am. But I’m just, I’m really just so taken by this, and I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate it,” he added.

The gala ended with singers coming on stage to perform a medley of Babyface’s classic hits including Toni Braxton‘s “You Mean the World to Me,” Eric Clapton’s “Change the World,” Whitney Houston’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” and more.

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