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FaraiToday at Alicia Keys’ Star-Studded “Keep A Child Alive” 2009 Black Ball



Filed under : Entertainment

Uber fab chic and Guest Correspondent Saran Kaba Jones attended this lavish affair in New York City last night!

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Saran Kaba Jones of FaceAfrica & host of the gala, Alicia Keys

The Keep a Child Alive Black Ball is a star-studded event where celebrity and philanthropy walk hand in hand, raising hopes, dreams and millions of dollars to benefit KCA’s work. The evening celebrates the work of the world’s most influential humanitarians, prominent entrepreneurs, entertainers and politicians who continue to attend and lend their support each year.

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Saran & the gorgeous Iman (heart her dress!)

The 2009 Ball was no different. Held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on Thursday, October 15th and co-hosted by Alicia Keys, Iman, and Padma Lakshmi, Keep a Child Alive’s 6th Annual Black Ball guests  included Usher, Halle Berry, Nick Cannon, Mary J. Blige, Robin Thicke, Estelle, Tyler Perry, Samuel Jackson and Terrence Howard, to name a few.

Halle Berry

Halle Berry & her partner Gabriel Aubry arriving at the 2009 Black Ball

They were all there to honor former President Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, and African singer and Ambassador Youssou N’Dour for their humanitarian work. Keys performed her own set and dueted with John Mayer on “Ain’t No Sunshine”, Youssou N’Dour on “7 Seconds” and Chris Martin on a few songs including “Viva La Vida.”

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Saran & super-duper talented Samuel L. Jackson

Throughout the years, Alicia Keys has shared the Black Ball stage with Bono, Annie Lennox, David Bowie, Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer, Justin Timberlake, Common, Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, Angelique Kidjo, Femi Kuti, Baaba Maal, Damian Marley, Lou Reed, Paul Simon, Kathleen Battle and Usher amongst others.

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Saran & Usher (check his new music)

I arrived at the Hammerstein Ballroom dressed in Prajje Couture (an amazing young Boston designer who’s also my partner at Fashion Expose, Boston Fashion Week) and hair by the fabulous Yojanse Jaminez of Salon Red, Newbury Street Boston. As I pulled up, celebrity guests had already started arriving and were walking the Red Carpet before a dozen or so flashing cameras. Adrian Grenier (also known as Vinny Chase on the HBO hit show Entourage) and Nick Canon were the first two I spotted. I made my way into the building as it was quite chilly outside. The sign-in process had already begun and as I proceeded to get my seat assignment, I spotted Victoria Secret model Oluchi and Kenim Obaibgena. We exchanged hugs and kisses before we all made our way into the crowd.

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The Invitation

Before the festivities of the Ball began, guests enjoyed an intimate cocktail reception and then took their seats in the beautifully decorated ballroom. The three course dinner included Beef Brisket braised in Red Wine and Jamaican Johnny Cake for desert. My table was quite the table I must say. Directly to my right was Usher and to my left were Adrian Grenier and his two lovely guests. Also at our table was Spike Lee, Terrence Howard, a young entertainment lawyer and her colleague from the David Firm and later on, Jeffrey Wright.

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Saran & Terence Howard (he is so yummy!)

Before the festivities of the Ball began, guests enjoyed an intimate cocktail reception and then took their seats in the beautifully decorated ballroom. The three course dinner included Beef Brisket braised in Red Wine and Jamaican Johnny Cake for desert. My table was quite the table I must say. Directly to my right was Usher and to my left were Adrian Grenier and his two lovely guests. Also at our table was Spike Lee, Terrence Howard, a young entertainment lawyer and her colleague from the David Firm and later on, Jeffrey Wright.

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Robin Thicke & his wife, Paula Patton

The award ceremony took place during dinner and this year, KCA incredible honorees included President Bill Clinton for his immeasurable achievements through the William J. Clinton Foundation and The Clinton Global Initiative; the unstoppable Sir Richard Branson who has cultivated sustainable change worldwide with Virgin Unite and one of my favorite artists Youssou N’Dour for his dedication to social change and poverty eradication through his voice and music.

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Saran & Youssou N’Dour (amazing artist, his performance was spectacular!)

Former honorees include: Simon Fuller for spearheading the Idol Gives Back phenomenon on American Idol; Bono, rock star and campaigner for Africa; and Stephen Lewis of The Stephen Lewis Foundation, Co-Founder of AIDS Free World and author of Race Against Time.

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With table mate, Adrian Grenier (Vinny Chase  from  HBO hit show Entourage)

There were intermissions throughout the evening, allowing guests to get up and mingle. I took the opportunity to introduce myself to a few of my favorite celebrities and talk about FACE Africa, including Alicia Keys herself, who seemed very impressed and encouraged me to “keep going.” I also got to meet Halle Berry, Samuel L. Jackson, Youssou N’Dour, Tyler Perry, Iman, Kerry Washington, and Mary J. Blige among others.

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With Oprah’s BFF, Gayle King!

The evening also included a live auction with some amazing items. Terrence Howard kicked off the auction by engaging in a (playful) bidding war with Queen Latifah for a 7-night stay at the Caves in Negril, Jamaica. Valued at $9,150, he won it at $20,000. Also up for bid was a 7-night stay at Sir Richard Branson’s home on the British Virgin Island including two first class tickets, a team of 60 staff, business facilities, fully equipped gymnasium and all meals and drinks. Valued at $27,000, the Branson auction raised $440,000! Chris Martin won the bid at $200,000 for the Yamaha Grand Piano used by Alicia Key’s during her “As I Am” tour in 2008 and recently at her 2009 MTV Video Music Award Performance with Jay-Z.

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With Tyler Perry

While the final figures were not announced at the event, it’s safe to say that the Black Ball will end up raising a few million dollars.

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Iman on the red carpet!

The night came to a close with Alicia Keys and Chris Martin’s performance, which got the crowd on its feet with “Viva La Vida.” As I made my way out, I was reminded by one of the staffers to get a gift bag, which by the way, deserves its own article! There seemed to be two level of gift bags because the one I got was slightly “smaller” than the one Halle Berry got for example. I can only begin to imagine what was included in “their” gift bag. Nonetheless, I was quite content with mine which included: the current ARISE magazine with Alicia Keys on the cover, a beautiful Hennessy Black bottle, a free first class upgrade on Continental Airlines, a complimentary room night at the Surrey Hotel in New York, Covergirl lash blast mascara, a MAC make-up package including foundation, eyeshadow, brush and lipstick, and QUEEN by Queen Latifah body lotion among other things.

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The goodie bag!

Sponsored by ARISE, Hennessy and Google, it was an incredible night of glamour, networking, entertainment, food, and most of all giving. Here’s to Ms. Keys for the amazing work she is doing for those affected by AIDS in Africa and India and here’s to Keeping a Child Alive!

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Very uber fab chic Halle Berry

Saran

FACE Africa

Source: Keep A Child Alive

farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.


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  • Femi Ajets

    Great reporting, Saran!!! And those pictures? Sometimes I just wish I had your life! Lol. Way to go!!! I’m sure Miss Keys was excited to have you and also that the event was such a huge success. God bless you all for doing what you do for the weak and the voiceless.

  • http://faraitoday.com farai

    Hi Femi,

    Glad you enjoyed “attending” the Black Ball vicariously through Mrs. Jones! We are excited that she is part of the team & boy did she have fun at the gala. This is definitely a worthwhile cause that benefits the least amongst us & we are super excited to have been part of the ball!

    Cheers,
    Farai & FaraiToday Team

  • http://www.thisthatbeauty.com Felicia

    Great coverage ladies!

  • http://faceafrica.org Saran

    thank you femi :-)

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  • http://faraitoday.com farai

    Thanks Fey! Cannot wait for you to give our readers your expert advice on all things make-up :-)!!

    Cheers,
    Farai

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