Keep A Child Alive's Black Ball 2015 featuring Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz, and Chris Rock

November 2015. New York City, The Hammerstein Ballroom, Manhattan Center, NY

On November 5, 2015, Empire Entertainment once again served as producer for Keep a Child Alive’s Black Ball at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Generously sponsored by Jynwel Charitable Foundation Limited, Microsoft and Givenchy Parfums, this year’s 12th annual Black Ball featured extraordinary performances by Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz, Wale and LION BABE and was emceed by comedian, actor and director, Chris Rock.

Hosted by Keep a Child Alive’s co-founder and 15 time Grammy Award-winning artist, Alicia Keys, who was joined by close friend and comedian, Chris Rock, who served as emcee, keeping everyone in stitches throughout the program. “It’s the funniest I’ve seen him. You can definitely tell he’s prepping for those Oscars,” said one guest of Rock, who has been named to host the Academy Awards on Feb. 28, 2016.

The Black Ball was once again designed by Creative Director Earle Sebastian, who chose an Afrofuturism theme for this year’s elegant cocktails, dinner and stage design. Design elements included a kinetic soft wall that undulated to a series of oscillating fans and a neon-lit Soweto Sound System created with New York-based design studio Mogollon.

A proud Alicia Keys and Keep a Child Alive CEO, Peter Twyman, took the stage early in the evening to deliver inspiring remarks about the power and potential of young people living with HIV and an impassioned plea for support.

This year’s Black Ball honored Patrice Motsepe and Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, individuals who are transforming African communities by addressing issues of social and economic inequality and envisioning a future when all Africans can realize their full potential.

A star-studded guest list of over 700 came out to support Keep a Child Alive’s mission with guests including Clive Davis, Gayle King, Tyson Beckford, Carmelo Anthony, Lewis Hamilton, Nigel Barker, Padma Lakshmi, and Mr. Brainwash.

Guests dined on a delicious dinner designed by guest chef Marcus Samuelsson and catered by Creative Edge. This year’s Black Ball raised $3.8 million dollars through table/ticket sales, sponsorships, donations, pledges and a live auction hosted by CK Swett. The live auction featured a selfie with Chris Rock, a visit to the set of Fox’s hit TV show, Empire, an extremely rare hand-crafted bottle of Rémy Martin’s Louis XIII Cognac, and an original painting by Kehinde Wiley. The Black Ball has raised over $28 million since its humble beginnings in 2004.

After the auction Alicia Keys and her band put on an electrifying concert performance that, true to Black Ball tradition, featured several amazing musical guests.

Neo-soul duo LION BABE joined Keys to open the concert with an old school classic, “Tell Me Something Good.” Rapper Wale then came out to perform “Lotus Flower Bomb,” segueing into a duet with Keys on “What You Won’t Do for Love.”

Grammy Award-winning rocker Lenny Kravitz took the stage next, pumping up the crowd with “Let Love Rule,” “American Woman” and “Are You Gonna Go My Way?”

Moments after the concert ended, Swizz Beatz and DJ Runna took to the stage to DJ the Afterglow party, keeping all the guests dancing into the early hours of the morning.

Empire has been proud to serve as the Producer of the Black Ball since its inception in 2004 and to partner with Keep a Child Alive and Alicia Keys to grow it into one of New York’s most anticipated, annual fundraising events.

To learn more about Keep a Child Alive and support their mission, please visit #KCABlackBall

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