Alicia Keys Raises $1.3 Million At Gala And Honors Oprah Winfrey
Billboard reports that Alicia Keys raised $1.3 million at the Black Ball Redux on Thursday at the Apollo Theater.
During the event, one man said he would increase his bid for a trip to South Africa from $100,000 to $250,000 if Keys would join him and his friends. She said she would go for “a little more”. The man was pharmaceutical billionaire Stewart Rahr. He didn’t raise his bid, but he later pledged $1 million to Keep A Child Alive. Keys’ chartiy helps those affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India. The charity was originally planned for November 1 but was canceled due to Superstorm Sandy.
Keys said: “There are places in the world where Keep a Child Alive serves where they have a Hurricane Sandy every day. They don’t have electricity, they don’t have heat … and that made me more invigorated to make sure this Black Ball happened.“
She also honored Oprah Winfrey at the event for her charity efforts, including the school she launched in 2007, The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, which launched in 2007.
She added: “It’s a universal truth, Oprah makes change happen.“
A video played before the award was given, which detailed her school and how she struggled in her early years (riding a bus with maids from the inner city to the suburbs to attend a better high school). Winfrey said she was honored to receive the award, and said that she’s “moving in the right direction.” She added: “You try to keep a child alive and I try to educate them as best as I can. When I look at Africans girls I see myself. I continue to work for them to have the same opportunities that I have.“
Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo then joined Keys on stage for a performance. Bonnie Raitt also performed, as she and Keys performed a duet version of “I Just Can’t Make You Love Me”. Keys said it was “one of my dreams to sing” with Raitt.
Jennifer Hudson and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes also performed. Whoopi Goldberg was the host of the evening. She said at one point in the auction: “I read ’50 Shades of Grey’ so I stay away from paddles.“