Russell Simmons, music and philanthropy icon, along with plenty of friends gathered hundreds as he put together his 20th Anniversary Fundraiser for RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation’s Art For Life Benefit.
The event was star studded and 1920’s themed. Uncle Rush aka Russell Simmons sure knows how to get the party started. “RUSH” which is the philanthropic foundation established by none other than the Simmons brothers: Russell, Danny and legendary hip hop mogul Rev Run. This foundation was created to help the disenfranchised. It also aims to give emerging artists significant exposure with great exhibition opportunities. Over the past 20 years, RUSH has been able to acquire great exposure for up and coming artists with different programs, exhibitions and events nationwide.
An event titled “The Roaring Twenties” definitely brought art lovers and of course friends of Russell Simmons to the Hamptons. Everyone dressed in a 20’s themed attire from ladies wearing sequin dresses and fashionable headbands to the guys wearing suits, suspenders, fedora hats and wingtip shoes. The red carpet was flooded with celebrity appearances from Gayle King, Kevin Liles, Angela Simmons, Bevy Smith, and one of the honorees of the night comedian Dave Chappelle. Jojo Simmons also made an appearance to support the foundation created by his father.
As everyone continued to pour in from celebrities to attendees, the tent where the evening took place became a musical festival. Tunes from the early and mid 90’s were being played and it had all the guests dancing. Russell Simmons then took the mic himself to give an intro speech to speak about what the event is for, why he created it and to introduce some of his featured artists of the night. The night continued on with food, open bar and more music. It began to feel like a true art exhibition, only with good tunes and fancy attire.
Soledad O’Brien was the MC for the night. Russell Simmons later came to the stage to introduce the first honoree of the night — Michaela and Simon de Pury. The second honoree for the night was Ava DuVernay and last was Dave Chappelle. Russell said they chose these honorees specifically because they have had a huge impact on society in regards to arts. Dave Chappelle has been a big supporter of RUSH and a big contributor to the foundation for years.
The music continued to play until we had an interruption from Russell. It was time to start selling the art! Gayle King purchased a piece of art work for a staggering $10,000.
To close out the night BBD also known as Bell Biv Devoe hit the stage to perform some of their hits from the 90’s.
All in all, it was an amazing fundraiser and outcome for Russell Simmons and the RUSH Foundation. Bombay SAPPHIRE cocktails were created in honor of the 20th year milestone including the 20th Anniversary Pineapple Gimlet, Sapphire Peppered Peach-Tea Collins and the Bombay Sapphire Eastern Tonic throughout the evening. This year’s gala kicked off the 6th Anniversary of the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series; a nationwide search for the next big name in visual arts. In close collaboration with RUSH, Bombay Sapphire will once again provide a platform for undiscovered artists; offering a handful of finalists to actually showcase their works during Art Basel Miami.[slideshow]