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Chaka Headlines Apollo’s Spring Gala; Lionel Richie, Etta James Inducted in Hall of Fame

Four decades after his first performance in the Apollo Theater with his legendary band, the Commodores, Lionel Richie and his musical legacy were celebrated at the seventh annual Apollo Theater Spring Gala, which serves as a fund-raiser for Harlem’s legendary W. 125th St. venue. He was inducted into its Legends Hall of Fame along with the late Etta James, who passed away in January. They join Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, James Brown and other pop music legends.

Queen of Funk Chaka Khan performed “Hello,” and gospel duo Mary Mary sang “All Night Long,” two of Richie’s biggest songs of the 1980s. Gladys Knight performed “At Last” in a moving tribute to James. The event is said to have raised more than $1 million, which will go toward the non-profit Theater’s arts, education and community engagement programs.

The glamorous after-party featured a stylish lounge transformed and created by celebrity event planner Marc Wilson of Marc Wilson Design. –yvette caslin (photos by Dave Goodson)