Samsung’s Annual Charity Gala Featuring Pitbull, Ryan Seacrest, Mariska Hargitay and Fitz and the Tantrums

September 2018. New York City, Manhattan Center, Hammerstein Ballroom

September 27, 2018 New York City, The Manhattan Center

On September 27, 2018, Empire was honored to serve as the producer of the 17th annual Samsung Charity Gala, which raises funds for a variety of charitable organizations focused on children’s health, education, and sustainability. This year’s Gala took place in the Grand Ballroom and Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Center in New York City.

The evening kicked off with a star-studded red carpet, packed with celebrities and athletes including Matthew McConaughey, Camila Alves, Jermaine Dupri, Victor Cruz, Jessica Seinfeld, Gus Kentworthy and more.

Guests entered the foyer which had been transformed into an ethereal registration space – surrounded by a star curtain with floral chandeliers hanging overhead. Guests then proceeded to the Promenade in the Hammerstein Ballroom and upstairs to the Grand Ballroom to enjoy cocktails. The starry theme continued into the Promenade, as guests walked into a navy-colored room with a twinkling ceiling installation and florals cascading down the columns. In the Grand Ballroom, guests’ attention was immediately drawn to a 22-foot high ‘Flornado’ (a tornado-shaped floral installation) that served as the main focal point behind the central bar, while DJ Irie kept the energy pumping.

After cocktails guests made their way into the Hammerstein Ballroom in wonder as the cavernous, historic opera house had been transformed into an elegant banquet hall. At the front of the seating stood an awe-inspiring stage over which stood a 33’ wide X 19’ tall LED screen which showcased animated content and logos of Samsung’s donors and charity partners.

The evening’s program included live “Voice of God” announcements by celebrities Mark Messier and Daymond John, a lively performance by students from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton Education Program, remarks by Ryan Seacrest and President & CEO of Samsung North America, Tim Baxter, the presentation of this year’s Champion of Hope award by Peter Hermann, to his wife, Mariska Hargirtay, and a performance by indie band, Fitz and the Tantrums who performed their hits “HandClap,” and “Walker.”

If that wasn’t enough excitement, auctioneer Charles Antin took the stage along with Matthew McConahughey and Victor Cruz to auction various packages including a trip to Texas for ‘Austin’s Biggest Party’ - the Mack, Jack & McConaughey annual charity event, a VIP experience with Victor Cruz at a New York Giants game, and the opportunity to fly to Puerto Rico to see Lin-Manuel Miranda reprise his title role in Hamilton.

The evening was closed out by the one and only Mr. Worldwide, Pitbull, who delivered a high-energy, 45-minute non-stop hit song performance including, “Give Me Everything,” “Don’t Stop The Party,” “Hotel Room Service,” and which concluded with confetti raining down over the audience.

The Samsung Gala raised more than $3 million for its Charity Partners, who included The Boomer Esiason Foundation; City of Hope; Mark Messier Foundation; Gilder Lehrman Institute; Irie Foundation; Lollipop Theater Network; SLAM; Together Rising; Sidewalk Angels; Joyful Heart Foundation; City of Hope; Eric & Jessie Decker Foundation; Christopher + Diana Reeve Foundation; Just Keep Livin, and more.

Empire was proud to once again work closely with the Samsung team to design and deliver a flawless and memorable evening benefitting these worthy causes.

For more information on Samsung’s charitable initiatives, please visit

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