Each year the Black Ball turns out to be an even bigger star-studded affair than the last, and last night was no exception.
Despite the downpour, Iman welcomed guests to Hammerstein Ballroom, acting as cohost with Padma Lakshmi and Alicia Keys. From honorees Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Youssou N’Dour to the guests, including Usher, Halle Berry, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Robin Thicke, and Estelle, to the emcee of the evening, Queen Latifah, stars from all categories came out to support the cause.
“The hope is eradication and finding a cure, but in the meantime, it’s really trying to save as many parents in affected areas so there are no more orphans,” said Iman of her goals for the organization. But when it came to the nominees, she was hard-pressed to pick one who she was most excited to honor. “Youssou N’Dour is African and he’s been championing for years and years, President Clinton has been especially involved with the Clinton initiative. It’s like saying, Which of tonight’s performances do you like best? Coldplay? John Mayer? I don’t know!”
Bill Clinton was humble as ever, accepting his award and saying, “Thank you for this award, but I don’t think I deserve it. I’d be a fool if I didn’t give back.” He regaled the audience with a story of his experience with a brother and sister. The young boy—affected by HIV/AIDS—had only completed three years of schooling, despite his age, but that hasn’t stopped his dream of becoming a doctor, or his sisters of opening a store. “Intelligence and dreams are evenly distributed throughout the world.”
And Iman certainly made it into a special evening, shortening her hair to a chin-length angled look and eschewing her normal long dress for a shorter Thakoon number. “That’s why! I said, ‘Oh, I’ll go short for a change.’” Did you notice that she’s wearing the same dress as Chanel Iman from their video?
Inside guests mingled while dinner was served, while Padma uploaded Twitpics, and the evening turned into a massive auction, raising thousands of dollars. Up on the bidding table was a late addition of a portrait of Marvin Gay, a self-portrait of John Lennon signed by Yoko Ono, and trips to Necker Island. Sir Richard Branson even came out to join the auctioneers, adding in last minute comments and deals to entice the audience. Success for Keep a Child Alive!