Apollo Theater Is No Longer The Venue Where African-American Culture Launches Its New Artists

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APOLLO THEATER NEW YORK
The marquee at the Apollo Theater in Harlem displays a memorial sign after the death of Nelson Mandela, former South African president and anti-apartheid leader, on December 6, 2013 in New York. The world on Friday mourned Mandela, who was hailed universally as an 'incredible gift' to humanity. Mandela's 'rainbow nation' awoke to a future without its founding father and its first black president, after he died late on December 5 aged 95 at his Johannesburg home surrounded by friends and family. | STAN HONDA via Getty Images

You needn’t set one foot inside today’s Apollo Theater to see how radically the world has changed since its heyday.

Surrounding the venue’s storied walls stand outlets for Rite Aid, Duane Reade and, as of two months ago, Red Lobster, right next door. Across the street sits Foot Locker, Old Navy, Modell’s, The Gap and Capital One Bank. That longstanding collection of local street merchants — dubbed Mart 125 — lost their space in 2003. Gone also are most of the brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop stores of old....

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