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article imageReview: We Are Family Foundation GALA — A night of music and philanthropy Special

By Markos Papadatos     Apr 29, 2017 in Music
New York - On April 28, the We Are Family Foundation GALA took place at Hammerstein Ballroom, which featured live performances by Grammy-winning musician Nile Rodgers and his band Chic.
The We Are Family Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that was founded by Rodgers, and it is dedicated to the vision of a global family. Rodgers made the opening remarks at the GALA, where he welcomed everybody and expressed his gratitude. It was followed by a video of the mission statement of the We Are Family Foundation, as well as remarks from Ms. Nancy Hunt, the president of the foundation, and Ms. Jess Teutonico, the executive director of the foundation.
This year's GALA honored the late Nelson Mandela posthumously with the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award. Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of Mandela, remarked in his acceptance speech, "It is in our hands to create a better world," prior to telling everybody about Nelson Mandela Centennial. Ndaba shared that next year (2018) will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.
Youth ambassador Paul Schumacher said a few inspiring words on the impact that the We Are Family Foundation had on his life, and the same was true about fellow youth ambassador Lauren Singer, where she spoke about Trash is for Tossers.
Professional NBA basketball player Dikembe Mutombo received the foundation's "Humanitarian Award," where he was praised for his influence, leadership and ability to change the world through action. He was also proclaimed as "one of the best defense-men of all time."
Youth Ambassador Ahmed Badr followed Mutombo, where he spoke about being the founder of Narratio, and he shared his moving story as a former refugee. The iconic hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest earned the We are Family Foundation's Unity Award.
Ms. Jess Teutonico, who returned to the microphone, also noted that "storytelling is the most powerful tool to create change," and rightfully so.
Concert Review
Following the live auction, a concert featuring Nile Rodgers and Chic took place, where they were able to get everybody on the dance-floor. "This is the dance-floor, y'all. You look fabulous," Rodgers told the audience. He kicked off their set with "Everybody Dance," where he told the audience: "I want you to take that as a command!" and they obeyed his orders.
It was followed by "Dance, Dance, Dance," where yellow lights dimmed from the stage. "Everybody put your hands together," Rodgers said, and the fans were clapping and dancing along. They continued with the mid-tempo and funky "I Want Your Love" and a medley of songs that included "I'm Coming Out," "Upside Down," as well as "He's the Greatest Dancer," where Kathy Sledge (of Sister Sledge) joined them on lead vocals. Equally fun was their refreshing version of "Get Lucky," which became a global smash hit for Pharrell Williams and Daft Punk.
Most impressive about Nile Rodgers is that all of the songs that he performed with Chic tonight were songs that he co-wrote and produced, and none of them were covers, thus showcasing the group's longevity and his relevance and profound influence in the contemporary musical landscape.
Nile Rodgers from Chic
Nile Rodgers from Chic
supplied publicity photo
At the red carpet prior to the event, this journalist was afforded the privilege to speak with Mr. Nile Rodgers about this special event and its significance. "This is a balance in my life. Music, I do, because I love it, and I have no choice. This I have a choice, and thank God I made it. These kids are the charger in my engine. I wake up every morning and I always see how the kids are doing, and how their projects are developing. They mean everything to me," he said.
Rodgers defined the word "success" on a more personal level. "I don't define success by accomplishment, or how many records I sell, or the amount of money I make, it's a job that I finish. I have a goal that I set and if I achieve that goal, I feel successful," he said.
The Verdict
This year's We Are Family Foundation GALA was an evening of celebration for philanthropy, scholarship and music. Aside from the exceptional food, nostalgic vocal performances and fine entertainment, they did a splendid job raising awareness about the mission of the We Are Family Foundation, in an effort to enhance world peace. It was a night where the artists displayed their big hearts in addition to their talented. This GALA event garnered five out of five stars.
For more information on the We Are Family Foundation, check out its official website.
To learn more about Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Nile Rodgers, check out his official homepage.
More about we are family foundation, nile rodgers, chic, Gala
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