Babyface Says Sons Telling Him They're Proud Is 'Best Gift' as He Accepts Legacy Award at the Apollo Spring Benefit

"That's what we're here for," the musician said at the annual fundraiser

<p>Shahar Azran/The Apollo</p> Babyface at the Apollo Spring Benefit in New York City on June 11, 2024

Shahar Azran/The Apollo

Babyface at the Apollo Spring Benefit in New York City on June 11, 2024

Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds is grateful for his two boys.

On Tuesday, June 11, the musician, 65, received the inaugural legacy award at the Apollo Theater’s annual spring benefit for decades of work as a singer-songwriter and music producer.

Babyface was presented the award by Fat Joe.

During his acceptance speech he gave a shout-out to his two sons, Brandon and Dylan, who are in their 20s.

"I am just in awe to be considered as part of the group when I think about all the things that everybody says that I've done and it's all been through the music," he said at the event.

<p>Shahar Azran/The Apollo</p> Babyface at Apollo Spring Benefit in New York City on June 11, 2024

Shahar Azran/The Apollo

Babyface at Apollo Spring Benefit in New York City on June 11, 2024

Babyface went on to say that his accomplishments in the music industry didn’t come easily. "I feel like I was being pushed. I think that God was just living through me and saying, 'This is what you got to do. This is what you're going to do,'" he added.

The musician shared a recent memory from the day prior when he visited the Walk of Fame with his sons.

"The thing that made me most proud is that I had two of my boys with me, Dylan and Brandon, they were with me and they both came up to me and they said, 'Dad, I'm so proud to be your son,'" he said in his speech. "I have to tell you that that's the best gift that I could ever get. Just to hear that from their mouths straight to me."

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Babyface related his personal story to his award, saying, "And to know that I've done something, not just for the world, but I did something for my kids that made them proud. And that's what we're here for."

He continued to thank "everybody" and said that the specific names "have just gone out of my head."

"I'm so taken by this and I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate it. Thank you so much," he concluded.

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The benefit is the Apollo’s signature fundraiser to celebrate "the Theater’s rich legacy and its commitment to its future as a mission-led arts and cultural organization, a community anchor and an economic driver for Harlem and New York City," according to the Apollo website.

Usher was also honored at the event which welcomed musical performances by Jordin Sparks, Karyn White, Avery Wilson and more.

The theater says they raised over $3 million dollars at the fundraiser – which also celebrated the organization’s 90th anniversary. Guests of the eventing included Andra Day, Ava Duvernay, Doug E. Fresh, Ariana DeBose, Governor Kathy Hochul and Kara Young.

Earlier in his speech, Babyface spoke of the relevancy of the Apollo and the NYC neighborhood Harlem. He reflected on walking a few blocks to the event, saying, "It was so powerful for me to actually do that because I felt like I could for the first time, I could really feel Harlem and what it meant."

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Speaking of the theater, he added, "And to be here for the Apollo, what's so hard for me to find the words for is that because if I'm honest, I just never saw myself as being on the Apollo stage. I was always the guy behind the scenes and writing the songs for everyone else and looking at people like my little brother Usher."

Babyface has written and produced music for Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, Ariana Grande and Mariah Carey throughout his career.

In May, he wrapped the first two shows of his Las Vegas residency at Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort. He will return for shows on Aug. 31, Sept. 1, Nov. 8 and Nov. 9.

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“Thank you to everyone coming out! Your energy was infectious ❤️ I can’t wait to do it again and again,” he wrote on Instagram. “I had promised that we would time travel and I think we managed to warp time 😂 Thanks to everyone involved - my team, my band, my crew! We will all see you again soon.”

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