Russell Simmons’ Art Foundation Honors Dave Chappelle & Ava DuVernay

Dave-Chappelle-and-Ava-DuVernay-Honored

Art merged with philanthropy at Russell Simmons’ Art for Life Gala in the Hamptons this weekend. The 20th anniversary (yes, count ’em the big 2-0) brought out habitual hermit Dave Chappelle and ‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay. The odd pair were recognized for their artistic abilities. And helped raise money for Russell Simmons’ RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation that finances arts programs in schools and galleries.

Funnyman Chappelle didn’t mince words about art saving his life, and it being used to reveal some deep seated issues (cough…racism… cough) and disturbing societal patterns (cough…police brutality against minorities… cough) still present.

“I went to an arts high school when shit was awful; there was a crack epidemic and AIDS, and all kinds of shit was happening, and the National Guard was policing DC and I found out about this arts program, and it changed my life in ways I couldn’t even imagine.

“And now ┬álook at me today! Here I am with the “Winners Circle” in the Hamptons. And I have a ‘Great Gatsby’ hat on… I can say honestly that I’m happy. I can stay home on Tuesday nights and watch (Keegan Michael) Key and (Jordan) Peele do my show. And it doesn’t hurt me at all. It doesn’t hurt me at all. I’m just joking y’all.”

Jokes aside, he hinted at how art could be instrumental in making a change.

” The biggest enemy of an artist is apathy. A kid gets killed by the police and I buy a T-Shirt and before I can wear that one, there’s another kid (killed) and I’m running out of closet space.”

Hopefully he won’t need anymore.

Russell Simmons’ Art for Life Charity Celebrates 15-Year Fundraiser

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Russell Simmons’ Art for Life gala has entered its 15th year and it’s still the most sought after philanthropic ticket in town. The mega-mogul, along with some wealthy friends–rapper Rick Ross and Patriots owner Bob Kraft, put their influence and fat wallets behind arts education for inner city youth.

The Hamptons-based fundraiser also threw a spotlight to honorees with an appreciation for arts in the community. Such as former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and Simmons’ ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons (who returned the favor by donating $1 milly to RUSH Arts Foundation.)

Rounding out the guest list was the fam: brother Danny Simmons, niece and nephew Angela Simmons and JoJo Simmons (duh!!)

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Star Jones

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Gayle King

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Soledad O’Brian played MC for the night

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Bevy Smith worked the red carpet giving interviews

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Doug E. Fresh, Kurtis Blow and Naughty By Nature got the crowd off their feet.

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Sounds like an epic night that’s worthy of a cash donation.

If you were absent from the festivities there’s still a way to give to RUSH Arts Foundation and meet your fave celeb. Click here to make a bid.