Back in 2003, Alicia Keys started holding her Black Ball, a star-studded annual charity concert to raise money for her charity Keep a Child Alive, which helps children and families affected by HIV. Thursday night in New York City, she celebrated the tenth anniversary of the event with a host of stars from the world of music, movies, TV and sports. On the red carpet, the singer told reporters that marking a decade’s worth of Black Balls is “surely one of her proudest moments.”
Alicia, who was joined on the red carpet by her husband, producer/rapper Swizz Beatz, and their adorable son Egypt, said she was proud “to be able to be here and to have reached 10 years and to continue the work that we’re doing, but also to see such a great transformation in so many children’s lives who wouldn’t have lived past two years old, and now they’re 12!” She added, “It’s really powerful and incredible to see what a group of people can do together.”
“We’ve now been able to serve 300,000 people over the ten years, and that’s a spectacular thing,” she continued. “And I think this celebration is about how we’re gonna move forward…AIDS is not gonna be our legacy.”
As for Swizz, he said the biggest highlight for him over the past ten years has been “just seeing the growth and being able to contribute …and having everybody get involved to make the numbers go up, to raise a lot of money and to actually see those kids really get help!” In ten years, the event has raised move $18.5 million.
Last night’s Black Ball was scheduled to feature Alicia performing with Rock and Roll of Famer and singer/songwriter extraordinaire Carole King, plus Pharrell Willams, jazz legend Roy Ayers, British soul singer Laura Mvula and opera star Kathleen Battle. “I’m happy to be here and to be a part of it, but more importantly, I just love that she puts her energy where her mouth is, and leads [by] example,” Pharrell said of Alicia. on the red carpet. “That’s what giving back to the universe has given us — so much…I mean look at this! We’re all thankful and happy to be here.”
Laura Mvula, whose album Sing to the Moon has drawn much critical acclaim, said of being invited to the event, “Alicia has a very kind spirit and is someone who is very interested in art and music, and it turns out she is feeling what I’m doing at the moment.” Added Laura, “I feel very privileged, and I hope to be like Alicia in some way. She reached out to things that she believes in, and she goes 100 percent.”
Stars from many musical genres, as well as actors, TV stars and sports figures, also showed up to lend Alicia support. Among them: LaLa Anthony, pop/rocker Chris Daughtry, Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, designer Tommy Hilfiger, former NBA star Grant Hill, Gayle King, DJ Cassidy, Hurt Locker star Anthony Mackie, teen stars Rachel Crow and Zendaya, and Steven Van Zandt, ex-Sopranos star and guitarist for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio