FGF | Alicia Keys Raises $2 Million for AIDS Research

 

A.K. pulled in some major coin for her 13th annual Keep A Child Alive ball, which provides life-saving medicine to kids in Africa living with HIV/AIDS.

The fresh-faced song bird raised $2 million dollars with Chance the Rapper, Salt-in-Pepa and ASAP Rocky slaying the stage at Hammerstein ballroom.

Clive Davis was the honorary guest. The Sony CEO had some sweet words for the hostess during his speech.

Because she did make it all happen.

And these are the celebs basking in the honor:

Lupita Nyong’go and KCA CEO

Keep A Child Alive's Black Ball 2016

Alek Wek

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Salt-n-Pepa

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Baz Lurhmann, Swizz Beatz, Omari Hardwick and Russell Simmons

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How Beyonce and Nicki Minaj Made Tidal Concert Teaching Moment

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Hey Fam, how many of you were lucky enough to get the golden ticket to the Tidal X: 1015 concert at Barclays last night?

If so, I’m super jelly you got to be in the same room as Common, Alicia Keys, Tip, Lauryn Hill, Emeli Sande, Beyonce and Nicki Minaj as they performed one hit after another for the benefit concert–all proceeds going towards The Robin Hood Foundation that aims to combat impoverished communities, including education.

As you can see I was catching major FOMO. But I had Alec Baldwin on SNL to give me a laugh, and Instagram posts to keep me in the loop on the most lit moments of the Tidal concert.

For me it was the candid non-PC ones. Let’s call ’em teachable moments from our Queens.

Let’s start with our fave demented Barbie: Nicki Minaj. She stormed on the stage with the illest’tude (Was her ex Safaree backstage?) demanding dudes put their egos in check and appreciate what smart women bring to the table.

“If you a champion female in the mutha fuckin’ building, can’t no weak ass mutha fuckin’ clown ass n****s bring you mutha fuckin’ down. Because you n****s so fuckin’ weak.”

Here’s where the Anaconda rapper’s rant ¬†really gains steam.

“You dare be intimidated by a bad mutha fuckin’ queen? Get your feelings mutha fuckin’ feelings hurt. It’s mutha fuckin’ ok because Barack needed a Michelle, bitch and Bill needed a mutha fuckin’ Hillary, bitch.

“You betta pray to God you don’t get stuck with a mutha fuckin Melania. You n****s want brainless bitches?” Nicki added.

 

Yup, she went in.

On another note–after lighting up the stage with her savagery– Beyonce capped off the concert with an impromptu speech about the importance of voting in this joke of a presidential race.

 

Bey makes a convincing case. After all our folk did die for this right. We must exercise it.

So, guys were you entertained and elevated?

 

 

IYB Woman Crush | Woman Creates Safe Haven for Baltimore Kids

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In case you haven’t noticed, news outta B-more has gone from bad to worse this week with one of the cops, who had a hand in Freddie Gray’s murder, was cleared of charges. Yes, yet another one. Lost count? Good thing they are.

Unfortunately no one is keeping a tally on how this is affecting kids and their ability to…I don’t know…be like normal young’uns. Luckily Erika Alston carved out such a safe haven for 100 neighborhood kids between ages 5 to 17.

CBS Evening News reports Alston revamped an old laudromat into an after-school rec center– Penn North Kids Safe Zone, a few days after the riots sparked by Freddie Gray’s murder.

“The whole world got to see our children standing face-to-face with officers, and throwing rocks, and they didn’t have another outlet. We’ve created that outlet.”

The Kids Safe Zone includes homework help, peer support, field trips and a range of recreational activities–from Xbox video games to sports teams–for kids to escape.

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Funding for Safe Zone comes from the state (Maryland’s governor donated $50G’s for the computer lab) and private donations. The center got a big boost when Alicia Keys made a surprise visit in November. Soon after A&E Network donated $30,000, followed by $10,000 from Kaiser-Permenete.

Say it loud: More safe zones and less jail cells. To donate to Ericka’s Safe Zone click here.

 

Monday Memoriam | David Bowie’s Charitable Legacy

 

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Nothing is worse than waking up to bad news. Unless it’s going to sleep with some. Today me and millions of others woke up to news David Bowie died of cancer. RIP David Bowie and condolences to his supermodel wife Iman.

Whether you’re familiar with his music or not (I’m a millenial, what’s your excuse?”) what’s indisputable is his authenticity and creativity to express himself through art. Without even singing a note David Bowie could capture our attention. Could it be the different color eyes? Or was it his chameleon-like personas? Blunt speak? Case in point, watch him call out MTV for their lack of diversity here.

Whatever je na sais quoi he possessed he carried it well. And shared it with those that needed it the most. David Bowie aka David Jones was a huge supporter of Alicia Keys’ Keep a Child Alive org that advocates for children in Africa living with HIV/AIDs.

In 2006, Bowie performed at the Keep a Child Alive fundraiser. Alicia Keys wrote a touching message about David Bowie’s death on her Facebook page today.

Sending prayers and love to my beautiful friend IMAN and her family on this day!

Through all his alter ego’s, David Bowie was one singular thing – a true Artist. He graciously performed 3 songs at Keep a Child Alive’s Black Ball in 2006 and I have never seen an audience so enraptured. Thank you for all the inspiration! Especially the message to all of us to be completely who you are!

“There’s a Starman waiting in the sky. He’d like to come and meet us but he thinks he’d blow our mind”. – Starman, David Bowie

It was par for the course, as the power couple committed time and money towards HIV/AIDS research. In the early ’90s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, David Bowie and Iman were repeat donors and performers to advocacy orgs like 7th on Sale fundraisers.

Replicating that same level of support to fellow London rock star Paul McCartney at his Concert for New York City in response to September 11th.

Record store Rough Trade announced they will donate all sales from David Bowie’s albums to cancer research in honor of the music legend. Even in his demise he’s helping others.

Check out his last hauntingly beautiful music video below.


Rock on in heaven DB!!

 

VIDEO: Celebs Flock to Alicia Keys’ Keep a Child Alive Black Ball

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Alicia Keys brought her 12th Annual Keep a Child Alive Black Ball in with a bang last night. With help from a zipped up (I won’t let it die)¬†Lenny Kravitz, Wale, Chris Rock and Lion Babe, who each shared a stage with the “Girl on Fire.” If you suffer from FOMO–Fear of Missing Out–like I do. We’ve got you covered. Below are duet snippets from each performance.

First up, Wale performing Lotus Flower Bomb with Alicia

Lenny Kravitz stole the show with “American Woman” while Alicia tickled the ivories

Lion Babe brought all the feels with their rendition of “Tell Me Something Good”

For those not tearing down the Hammerstein Ballroom stage with Alicia. Those lucky enough to be sitting pretty and enjoying the show were.

Swizz Beatz, of course, revving the crowd up with his DJ skills.

KRS-One and Angie Martinez reunited

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Knicks star Carmelo Anthony sans wife Lala but found some friends.

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Soul singer Maxwell, oh how we wish you hijacked the stage with Lenny and Alicia

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KCA global ambassador Padma Lakshmi and Formula 1 race car champion Lewis Hamilton

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Fitness guru Jeanette Jenkins

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Chris Rock, Clive Davis and hubby say cheese with Alicia.

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By far the highlight of the night, notwithstanding performances, was when Alicia Keys–sporting a fierce Jean Paul Gaultier blazer, I might add–announced they raised $1 million for KCA, which means more life-sustaining programs for children affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa.

Additionally, this comes on the heels of the R&B goddess running the NYC marathon in honor of KCA. No one deserves a bigger round of applause.

Bill Clinton, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars Designed Teddy Bears Raise Thousands for HIV/AIDS Non-Profit

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Move over Paddington, Bobbi Bear is taking over and he’s got backup. R&B superstars Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys and Bruno Mars¬†and Bill Clinton designed their own Build-a-Bear to be auctioned off at the auction house Sotheby’s earlier this month.

The numbers are in and the stars helped raise over $100,000 to benefit Operation Bobbi Bear, a non-profit that caters to sexually abused and exploited kids that may be at risk to HIV/AIDS in South Africa. The bear plays a key part in victims describing where they were abused. The non-profit has reportedly saved thousands of children from being victimized by telling their stories.

To learn more about Operation Bobbi Bear click here and to see all the customized teddies click here.

The Black Ball!! Alicia Keys’ Keep a Child Alive Celebrates 11th Anniversary

aliciakeysAlicia was the belle of the ball at her annual gala to raise money for her Keep a Child Alive org that provides HIV treatments and support services to families affected in Africa.

How adorbz is the cute PDA between Alicia and Swizz on the black carpet?

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Diddy and Alicia’s hubby Swizz Beatz co-hosted the event held at the Hammerstein Ballroom,in NYC last night.

Diddy and Swizz Beatz (don’t they look like dapper dons?) brought out Kanye West to introduce participants at the Black Ball’s opening.

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Madge cuddled with the guest of honor at the fundraiser and took selfies with Mr. West.

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The event drew in leggy beauties Joan Smalls, Alek Wek and Selita Ebanks, making it a model affair. And where there are models…

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…that’s where music mogul Russell Simmons’ will be. Joined by niece Angela Simmons and Lala Anthony, Russell took video of Diddy and Nas rocking the stage with “You Can Hate Me Now.”

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But it looks like the real showstopper was ¬†Alicia’s performance of ¬†“Empire State,” seeing how they were in the Big Apple.

And backed up Nas for his “If I Ruled the World” performance at the ball.

Rounding out the ball bashers are Estelle and “Top Chef’s” Padma Lakshmi.

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And living legend Aretha Franklin graced A.K with her presence.

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No official word on how much the affair raised, but got a very generous donation of $200K during the night. If I was a betting woman I’d say they took in at least $1 or $2 milly for the cause.

Good work, Ms. Keys. I’m sure the preggo glow worked wonders on those with deep pockets.

UPDATED Jay Z Headlines The Global Citizen Festival to End Extreme Poverty

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In *looks at watch* less than 24 hours Jay Z –along with No Doubt, The Roots, Fun, Carrie Underwood and Ti√ęsto–will take over the stage in Central Park ¬†for The Global Citizen Festival. If you remember Alicia Keys rocked the mega crowd so hard last year, I think the trees found rhythm. And I wish she demanded a do over this year. Just because her “Why We Are Here” online campaign along with the matching thought-provoking (and foot-tap worthy) ballad is the embodiment of the festival’s mission to work together to end poverty.

jiggamanNow it’s on Jay Z to inspire us with that same musical message. Don’t scoff, I’m confidant he can pull this off. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, how can Mr. “presence is charity” possibly convince others to care about such a huge problem as global poverty? Simple answer: his presence. Okay, okay, hold on… hear me out. Jay Z holds weight; it’s no secret he is one of the most influential music gods on Earth, you don’t have to ask who the goddess is, and with that comes pull. To get others to care about the shit we ordinarily wouldn’t. (e.g. Yeah, okay everyone marching the streets of Manhattan this week cared about the destruction of the environment. This dude had nothing to do with it? Of course he did, that’s what made it even more newsworthy.)

Jay may not change the state of poverty in one night, but he sure as hell will–to borrow from the late great Tupac Shakur–“spark the brain” that will make poverty a conversation starter. It wouldn’t be the first time Jay Z ignited a flame of consciousness to a cause close to his heart. I recall him doing just that, without picking up a mic.

If you’ll allow me, I know it’s not Thursday, but let’s go back to 2006 when Jay Z announced a world tour to spread awareness for the ¬†global water crisis, in conjunction with being a spokesman for the United Nations. MTV captured one of his stops in Angola and released the documentary “Diary of Jay Z Water for Life.” To refresh your memory hit play after the jump.

And if it piqued your interest enough, here’s another one:

Shocking, right? Not only was he present, but he also got his hands dirty in the process. Allow me to reintroduce myself indeed…

In his book “Decoded” he explains his ideas about giving to charity.

“…Of course I do sometimes like to see where the money I give goes. When I went to Angola for the water project I was working on and got to see the new water pump and how it changed the lives of the people in the village, I wasn’t happy because I’d felt like I done something so great. I was happy to know that whatever money I’d given was actually being put to work and not just paying a seven-figure salary for the head of the Red Cross. And I did a documentary about it, not to glorify myself, but to spread the word about the problem and the possible solutions.”

And the importance of coming together to solve this ginormous world issues.

…But whether it’s public or private, we can’t run away from our brothers and sisters as if poverty is a contagious disease.

Amen, Hov. I hope those written words from four years ago will resonate on the stage tonight and squeeze its way into our hearts, enough to give a damn.

************UPDATE*******************************UPDATE**********************************UPDATE****************************UPDATE***********************************UPDATE**************************UPDATE

photo credit: Twitter

photo credit: Twitter

So, its been ten hours since we last chatted, and since then, Jay Z has rocked the crowd in Central Park …and got the date wrong for when the organization wants to eradicate poverty (it’s 2030, not 2013, Mr. Carter). But what he did get right is bring Beyonce on stage. She was the cherry on top of Jay’s indulgent 50 minute concert. To see the Carters perform “Holy Grail” and “Young Forever,” check it out below.

And Bey and Jay will keep us forever young with this one…

During his performance he thanked all the people in the crowd for working to eradicate poverty with their volunteer work.

photo credit: Beyonce Jay Z source

photo credit: Beyonce Jay Z source

Our prayers were answered (at least mine were) with pregnancy glow and all, Alicia Keys made a return by opening the festival.

Image Courtesy of mleshik007 Instagram

Image Courtesy of mleshik007 Instagram

Also on hand were…

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…. The Roots

That’s all folks!! **in my Jay Z voice** What a great night, wouldn’t you agree?

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Which Celebs Were Most Charitable in 2013?

The annual list has been rolled out. No, not nominees for the Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes…am I missing any? Oh, of course The Oscars. Sheesh, there sure are a lot of award shows…anyhoo I’m referring to an honor that doesn’t come with a pretty accolade to hang on a mantle. But highlights generosity and love for community. It’s the annual Celebs Gone Good list by DoSomething.org

And the most charitable are….

Photo Credit: consequenceofsound.net

Photo Credit: consequenceofsound.net

Rapper Kendrick Lamar lands the 19th spot on the list for putting action behind his socially conscious lyrics by raising thousands for Hurricane Sandy victims and donating the funds to the Red Cross.

Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports

Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports

Oklahoma Thunder baller Kevin Durant follows  with his volunteer efforts and $1 million contribution to the Red Cross in helping to rebuild the city effected by those devastating tornadoes.

Photo Credit: theriothouse.tumblr.com

Photo Credit: theriothouse.tumblr.com

Alicia Keys slides into the 12th spot by headlining the Global Citizens Festival that brings awareness for poverty. In addition to her continuous efforts to combat HIV/AIDS with her Keep A Child Alive non-profit.

Photo Credit: The Washingtonian

Photo Credit: The Washingtonian

It’s not Scandalous that Kerry Washington makes the list with her work helping to keep arts education alive in impoverished neighborhoods. She serves on President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and had major fun with FLOTUS Michelle and kiddos at the White House this past summer.

Photo Credit: The Idolator

Photo Credit: The Idolator

And the number 3 spot goes to Queen Bey for her #BeyGood charitable campaign that partnered with Goodwill in donating clothes and other gently used items to help low-income workers land on their feet. And do we really need to mention how she slayed the stage for the charity concert Chime for Change in London this past summer? Nope, didn’t think so.

An honorable mention for her better half Jay Z (he’s not on the list) for earning over $1 million dollars for his Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation from his holiday clothing collection at Barney’s. Considering the controversy, that’s pretty impressive, Mr. Carter.

To see the full list click here.

Kudos to all the givers of 2013, Please continue your generosity in 2014.

Alicia Keys Celebrates Keep A Child Alive 10 Year Anniversary

"I'm in awe of how Keep a Child Alive has been saving lives for 10 years!! One of the most important fights of our lives!! Looking forward to this triumphant night of celebration!!" #KCABlackBall  Photo Courtesy: Alicia Key's Facebook page

“I’m in awe of how Keep a Child Alive has been saving lives for 10 years!! One of the most important fights of our lives!! Looking forward to this triumphant night of celebration!!” #KCABlackBall
Photo Courtesy: Alicia Key’s Facebook page

Last night A.K. literally was THE girl on fire rocking an asymmetrical fire-engine red gown to the 10th anniversary of the Keep A Child Alive Black Ball in New York. The annual event raises millions for her charity that uses the money for medicine, care and support to children living with H.I.V and AIDS in Africa and India.

Of course Swiss Beatz and Egypt were there to support.

Photo Credit: Swizz Beatzz IG

Photo Credit: Swizz Beatzz IG

Along with Pharrell Williams, who no doubt slaughtered the stage with Ms. Keys.

Photo Credit: Swizz Beatz IG

Photo Credit: Swizz Beatz IG

And this backstage pass of Alicia and famed singer/songwriter Carole King rehearsing for the Black Ball is epic.

"Learning from one of the greatest that's ever done it!!! Pinch me!  w/ Carole King at #KCABlackBall rehearsal!"  Photo Credit: Alicia Keys Facebook

“Learning from one of the greatest that’s ever done it!!! Pinch me! w/ Carole King at #KCABlackBall rehearsal!”
Photo Credit: Alicia Keys Facebook     

According to the charity, Keep A Child alive has raised over $36 million dollars with their events and helped over 300,000 people with their services.

This past summer, the “Brand New Me” singer took her message of getting tested for H.I.V stateside. She visited Harlem Hospital in August to hear stories from those who are H.I.V positive and get tested herself, alongside Congressman Charlie Rangel. Check the video below.

And to see highlights from Alicia’s Keep A Child Alive charity click here.