Keep A Child Alive hosted their 11th annual Black Ball. The event was hosted by Keep a Child Alive co-founder, Alicia Keys, and featured performances by NAS, David Byrne and Angel Haze. Sean Puffy Combs and Swizz Beatz joined the celebration as co-hosts for the night.
The Keep a Child Alive’s (KCA) Black Ball, presented by the Jynwel Charitable Foundation and Parfums Givenchy, brought celebrity and philanthropy together to fulfill hopes, dreams and raise funds for children and families with HIV/AIDS in Africa and India. Givenchy Artistic Director Riccardo Tisci was honored. Keys is currently the face of the fashion house’s perfume.
Peter Twyman, CEO of Keep a Child Alive and Alicia Keys, Co-Founder of Keep a Child Alive were joined by Madonna, Aretha Franklin, Kanye West, Scott Disick, Joan Smalls, Gayle King, Clive Davis, LaLa Anthony, Selita Ebanks, Russell Simmons, Marina Abramović, Padma Lakshmi, Estelle, Andre Leon Talley, Jeanette Jenkins, Chris Cornell, Vicky Cornell, Mr. Brainwash, Richard Tong, Earthquake, Brooke Candy, Chaz Dean, Geena Rocero, Olivia Harrison, Steve Van Zandt, Maureen Van Zandt, Bethann Hardison, Youssef Marquis, Latham Thomas, Angela Simmons, Mari Malek, Amber Ridinger, Loree Rodkin, Duane McLaughlin, Alek Wek, and Po Johnson at the event.
We caught up with Alicia on the red carpet. Read what she had to say below:
Q: Can you reflect on this journey? You started Keep A Child Alive in 2003.
Alicia Keys: It has been such a journey. When I first went to Africa it just changed my life! And really what changed it was because I saw people just like me and my brothers, my sisters, my cousins, and like anybody we’re all dealing with how to live in this world and I remember being really inspired by them, to know that they had to watch their parents pass away because they didn’t have access to medicine that we do. It really just changed my perspective. I said, “If that was me, I hope somebody would be there for me, and talk for me, and raise awareness for me. Now, even tonight, it’s really about the youth and how much we drive the forward motion of where this pandemic is going to go and how it’s going to end. So I’m really proud of that, I’m proud of them. I’m proud of the journey, I’m proud of tonight and we’re going to keep on keeping on.
Q: How has the being a mother help further shape your passion for this cause?
Alicia Keys: Definitely. Being a mother has definitely furthered my passion for Keep A Child Alive and for, you know, just really talking about issues in the world overall because I think we have to be conscious, we have to be aware, and we definitely have to figure out what we can do about it because we can and it’s possible and a lot of times maybe we feel like we’re not sure what we can do about it. But being a mother has given me tons of inspiration. My husband tells me, “You should go lie down. Take it easy.” But I can’t! Like I’m inspired and that’s what it’s about.
Q: You are so passionate about issues in Afria, what is your reaction to the Ebola epidemic?
Alicia Keys: In regards to Ebola, obviously it’s devastating what’s happening and it’s something that totally has to be paid attention to and it’s something that we as a global community, need to react to and continue reacting to. But I do think that some of the messaging that’s getting out in America is confusing. It’s obviously a serious issue, totally we have to pay attention to it – but I think it’s making people think that the way that you would get it or contract it, it’s kind of a little bit not quite a hundred percent accurate, so I think it’s pumping fear into a lot of us. And I think we have to just be conscious about the truth of it, and obviously the imperativeness of paying attention to it, and hopefully encouraging our leaders to really make sure that we’re putting money towards getting bodies over there to help the scenario, and doctors, and medical professionals, and even every day people who can really provide assistance, too. So it’s definitely interesting, but to our point, it’s something that needs to be paid attention to.
Q: Can you talk about your first date with Swizz?
Alicia Keys: Our first date was really awesome. You know my husband is an art lover and he is always introducing me to art and he has always taken me to the most coolest, interesting places. And on our first date he introduced me to an artist called Erté, which became and is now one of my favorite artists because of all the clothing he designed and how he’s really focused on feminine beauty. And I remember, I’d have to tell you way longer what made that really funny, but it’s always beautiful the way that he teaches me and the way we teach each other.
Q: Erté is sort of deco. Are you into interior design?
Alicia Keys: I’m not into art deco interior design, but I am into interior design. I guess any home you live in you’re constantly designing it, I wonder if it’s ever going to end, but doing that now and it’s fun. We do it well together.
Q: Do you work with someone or do you just do it together?
Alicia Keys: We kind of do it together, we have a couple of people we might call on, but it’s really he and I. It’s super cool.
Q: What do you do on your birthday?
Alicia Keys: Oh we go crazy on our birthdays. Well he and I have an ongoing birthday competition. And we compete with each other to out do one another for the next birthday. I don’t know how that started, it didn’t even begin like this, I’m not sure. Like I threw him a “Coming To America” party this time and it was really awesome.
The night raised a total of $2.3 Million, that will go towards supporting children and families with HIV in African and India.