The Apollo Announces Women of the World Festival


Hosted at the Apollo Theatre, “WOW” is bringing together notable artists and civic leaders from around the world to celebrate women and encourage discussion.

The New York premiere of “Women of the World” or “WOW” is part of Southbank Centre London’s global “WOW” movement. The “WOW” festival will include Performances, Panel Discussions, Workshops, and public cross-cultural dialogues that celebrate female achievements and touch on a variety of social issues with many notable figures. Some of the people participating in “WOW” festivities include Emmy Award winner Iyanla Vanzant, Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee and bestselling author Naomi Wolf . There will also be performances by Grammy-Winning Singer/Songwriter Macy Gray, artist activist Morley, The Frenchie Experience featuring former American Idol contestant Frenchie Davis and Malaysian Pop Star Yuna and many more, as well other events held throughout Harlem from June 11th to the 14th. Southbank’s Artistic Director Jude Kelly founded the international festival in 2011 to celebrate women’s achievements and address critical issues plaguing women on a global level. The “WOW” festival unites women from diverse backgrounds as they tackle and discuss cultural civic and social issues. For more information about the festival click here and to see a detailed list of events and their description just look below:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Opening Event – Details to be announced

Friday, June 12, 2015

Girls Town Hall

Apollo Mainstage, 10am

Tickets:  $10

An opportunity for middle school and high school girls to discuss sisterhood, anti-bullying, teen feminism, self-esteem and other hot-button issues impacting their daily lives.

An Evening with Iyanla Vanzant with featured performance by Yuna

Apollo Mainstage, 8pm
Tickets – $10 – $45

New York Times best-selling author Iyanla Vanzant is an American inspirational speaker, lawyer, spiritual teacher, author, and life-coach and television personality. Known for her best-selling books, her eponymous talk show, and for her frequent appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show; Ms. Vanzant can currently be seen on her hit television show Iyanla, Fix My Life. Indie Malaysian YouTube sensation, Yuna, best known for her hit single “Live Your Life,” will perform an eclectic and classy blend of alt-pop and soul, following Ms. Vanzant’s talk.

Apollo Music Café Featuring Morley

Soundstage, 10pm

Tickets:  $20

From Carnegie Hall to the Nomad Women’s Festival in the Sahara Desert, Morley has brought her unique blend of jazz, folk and soul to the world’s stage. She is a noted activist who uses her music to promote her message of peace. Her most popular song “Women of Hope” has brought her before many world leaders and policy makers.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Keynote Address with Leymah Gbowee

Saturday, June 13  

Apollo Mainstage, 9am

Saturday Day Pass Tickets: $10 – $25

The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Leymah Gbowee, organized and led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who confronted Liberia’s ruthless president and rebel warlords to change history. She is the author of Mighty Be Our Powers, a gripping chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to empowerment that touches all who dream of a better world.

Feminism Now

Keynote Conversation with Jude Kelly, Naomi Wolf, Jennifer Baumgardner, Teresa Younger, and Yasmeen Hassan

Apollo Mainstage, 10am

Saturday Day Pass Tickets: $10 – $25

What does it mean to be a feminist today?  What are the issues shaping the feminist agenda in the 21st Century? These are among the questions this high-powered assemblage of feminist-activists will address.  With the publication of the 1991 bestselling book The Beauty MythNaomi Wolf became a leading spokeswoman of what was later described as the third wave of the feminist movement.  Jennifer Baumgardner is the Executive Director/Publisher at The Feminist Press at CUNY, which is producing the StopSlut Project and publishing cutting-edge feminist works. Teresa Younger, President and CEO, Ms. Foundation, has been on the frontlines of some of the most important battles for women’s health, safety and economic security. Yasmeen Hassan, Global Director of  Equality Now an organization that works for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls around the world.  Moderated by Jude Kelly, the Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London, Britain’s largest cultural institution.


Featuring jessica Care moore, Joi, Steffanie Christi’an, Tamar Kali, Res and Yahzarah

With a special performance set by Macy Gray

Apollo Mainstage, 8pm

Tickets:  $20 -$45

Black WOMEN Rock! is an annual rock event founded by internationally renowned poet jessica Care moore and will assemble some of today’s hottest rock goddesses on the famed Apollo stage. Grammy-Winning Singer/Songwriter Macy Gray will close out the powerful evening with a special set where she will perform songs from her new album, The Way. Featuring jessica Care moore, a spoken word superstar of the hip hop generation; popular rock, funk, R&B singer/songwriter Joi; powerhouse vocalist Steffanie Christi’an;Tamar-kaliwho came to notoriety in the award-winning documentary AfropunkRes, a singer/songwriter known for her participation in the super group, Idle Warship, with Talib Kweli and Yahzarahwho is recognized for her 5 octave range and electric performances.

Apollo Music Café Featuring The Frenchie Experience

Soundstage, 10pm

Tickets:  $20

This evening will feature a pop cabaret with former American Idol contestant and LGBTQ activist Frenchie Davis. Davis was in the Broadway cast of the hit show Rent, played the role of Effie White in Dreamgirls on Broadway and was nominated for a Grammy as part of the cast recording for the “Ain’t Misbehavin” revival. Frenchie also appeared on the first season of NBC’s hit show The Voice and joined forces with Christina Aguilera to become one of the top finalists. Her cover of “When Love Takes Over” landed at #3 on the iTunes Dance Chart.

Saturday, June 13 and Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pearls of Wisdom with Carla Harris

Carla Harris is a Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley. During this discussion Ms. Harris will share her own personal missteps amidst numerous victories and the tools, strategies, and pearls of wisdom honed by her own experience.

Taken For Real

From “rape as a tool of war” to “the rights of sex workers,” this discussion examines the impact of human trafficking, locally, nationally and globally.

Organizing and Activism 101

Social activists offer an insider’s look at what it takes to start and sustain a movement, whether on the community, national or global level.

Stop Telling Women to Smile

Moderator: Dr. Chloe Angyal  

A dynamic group of activists explores “street harassment” and the organizations on the ground combating it. Emily May, Executive Director of Hollaback! is an international leader in the anti-street-harassment movement. Anthonine Pierre is the lead community organizer for Brooklyn Movement Center. Collier Meyerson is an independent journalist and video producer. Dr. Chloe Angyal is in an independent journalist and blogger. Tatyana Fazlalizadeh creator and illustrator of the street art project, Stop Telling Women to Smile.

Motherhood in the 21st Century

This two-part conversation explores alternate routes to motherhood, from adoption to foster care, as well as new support systems for mothers, including the rise and impact of mommy bloggers.

Orange Is the New Black and Brown

These experts discuss the prison industrial complex and its impact on women and communities of color. Georgia Lerner is the Executive Director of Women’s Prison Association, a service and advocacy organization committed to helping women with criminal justice histories. Debbie Kilroy is the first woman in Australia to serve time for a serious crime, and then go on to practice criminal law and establish the famous prisoner advocacy group, Sisters Inside. Soffiyah Elijah is the Executive Director of the Correctional Association of New York whose mission is to create a fairer and more humane criminal justice system. Monica Williams is a national award winning Arts and Social Justice Leader, recognized for her work with the Kentucky Foundation for Women Special Project with families of the incarcerated.Liza Jessie Peterson is a renowned poet, spoken world artist and activist.

Yearning to Breathe Free: Immigration/Refugee Issues

Moderator:  Maria Hinojosa  

From documentation issues to national policies to cultural practices, this panel explores immigration and its impact on women and the sustainability of families. Mercedes Cano is a New York attorney, who represents clients in the area of immigration law, specifically in matters of deportation, political asylum and family petitions.

Telling Your Story:  Women in International Empowerment

Moderator: Dr. Anita Shankar

Women share their fascinating personal journeys, in a discussion about how “dreaming a new future” and “telling your story” are essential tools for personal empowerment. Dr. Anita Shankar is a medical anthropologist and public health researcher with Johns Hopkins University with over 20 years experience in research and programs focused on women’s empowerment.

The Next Majority: Latinas Rising

Moderator: Lisa Quiroz

Latinas are taking center stage in the 21st Century America. This panel spotlights how America is impacted, influenced and inspired by its next majority. President Obama recently appointed Lisa Garcia Quiroz, Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer at Time Warner Inc., to chair the Corporation for National and Community Service Board of Directors.

Reimagining Manhood

Moderator:  Jimmie Briggs

Leading experts on men and masculinity discuss the crucial roles men play in the pursuit for gender equality. Jimmie Briggs is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Man Up, a global campaign to activate youth to stop violence against women and girls. For his work with Man Up Campaign, Briggs was selected as the winner of the 2010 GQ Magazine “Better Men Better World” Search.

Youth Leadership Workshop

YWCA teens facilitate an interactive workshop that provides leadership skills and inspires other youth to be agents of change in their communities by sharing their individual stories and practical knowledge. Hosted by the YWCA of the City of New York.

Additional WOW Festival Features

WOW Bites

WOW bites are short, punchy presentations by inspiring people about the things they are passionate about. Their ideas, stories, or manifestos are presented in a TED-style talk format.

WOW Bites: Dine Around Harlem

Friday, June 12, 12pm -2:30pm  

Tickets:  $38

Have a WOW lunch with us. These bite-sized TED Talk-style presentations focus on a wide array of fascinating subjects and issues. Participating restaurants include: Billie’s Black, Madiba Harlem, Minton’s, New Harlem Besame Latino Soul Lounge and Red Rooster.

WOW Bites Speakers Include:

Michelle Roberts is the first female Executive Director, National Basketball Players Association.

Bhairavi Desai is the founder and Executive Director of New York Taxi Workers Alliance.

Nell Merlino is a Fulbright scholar and creator of Take Our Daughters to Work Day and Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence.

Anita Lo is a chef, award-winning New York restaurateur of Annisa Restaurant.

Linda Kay Klein is an author, activist, former evangelical, and speaker on Feminism, Faith and Sexuality.

Heidi Beemer is a Mars One astronaut trainee applicant and one of 21 finalists for the Mars Society’s Mars Arctic 365 program – a one-year simulated Mars exploration mission planned for next year in the high Arctic.

Debbie Kilroy is a former inmate, now attorney, activist and advocate for incarcerated Aboriginal and Indigenous women and founder of Sister Inside.

Maria Pacheco is a Fulbright scholar and founder of Wakami, a store and distribution channel for indigenous Guatemalan women artisans’ goods, transforming cycles of poverty into cycles of prosperity by creating value chains as sources of income for rural communities.

Brittany Hodak is the co-founder of ZinePak, which blends marketing and branding into music pop-culture content for tweens and young adults. It was founded and self-funded in 2011 and is now a multi-million dollar company.

Kelly Tsai is a Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based Chinese Taiwanese American award-winning spoken word poet and performer.

WOW Marketplace 

Saturday, June 13, 12pm – 6pm

City College of New York

The WOW marketplace features vendors, speed mentoring, service providers and advocacy groups that support, celebrate and empower women.




-Nishat Baig


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