Courtesy of Kofi Boakye
A 22-year-old pianist and Berklee College of Music student, Akron's Kofi Boakye will mark his return to the opening night of Amateur Night at the Apollo in Harlem on Wednesday, Feb. 16. This will be the second year the Ohio native has competed in the long-standing historic competition, and it'll mark the Apollo's first Amateur Night since its near three-year pandemic hiatus.
A first round win will give Boakye the chance to return to the quarter round of competition held on March 23.
With the help of his community and local supporters, Boakye was able to crowdfund
his first year at Berklee. The unforeseen COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to his education.
“I had to switch the focus from schooling, to surviving,” he says in a press release about his upcoming performance at the Apollo. "I’m African-American and from a single parent household. Statistically, I’m not supposed to achieve the feats of being accepted into prestigious and competitive colleges like Berklee. But you don’t let the past define you. You can create your own story; all you have to do is write it. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. I relish the change. I relish the college. Most importantly, I relish the challenge. I can’t wait to get back to Berklee and show what another kid from Akron is made of.”
In 2019, Boakye received a regional Emmy nomination for his film Kofi: Made in Akron
, a short film documentary created in co-production with Pritt Entertainment Group.
“From growing up in the inner cities of Akron, seeing the yellow tape and police sirens all throughout my childhood, the hunger to strive for greatness and do something positive in my life has always been a motivating factor for myself,” Boakye says.
The Apollo Theater’s season opener will air live via the Apollo Theater's social media pages