The Black Ball

Black Ball 2008

On November 13, 2008 over 1,500 guests attended the fifth annual Black Ball at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City to support the children and families that Keep a Child Alive serves. The event was sponsored by Conde Nast Media Group for the third consecutive year and raised over $2.4 million. The star-studded evening began with a cocktail party followed by a seated dinner, honoree program, live auction and extraordinary performances. Our very special guests included Tyra Banks, David Bowie, Russell Simmons, John Mayer, Timbaland, Cynthia Nixon, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Stacy London, Liya Kebbede, Alonzo and Tracy Mourning, Zoe Kravitz, Michelle Williams, Elijah Wood and KCA Global Ambassadors Padma Lakshmi, Jessica Alba & Iman.

The evening was dazzled with extraordinary live performances by Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Chris Daughtry, Adele and Emmanuel Jal. Each artist took the stage to collaborate with Alicia Keys in a dynamic and emotional fusion of musical genres. Alicia and Justin Timberlake performed Phil Collins’ ‘Another Day in Paradise’ in a moving duet, Alicia also collaborated with the soulful songstress Adele in performing her song ‘Hometown Glory’. Chris Daughtry performed the very poignant ‘What About Now’ with Alicia.

Keep a Child Alive honored three humanitarians who have used their will, fame and courage to change the lives devastated by this pandemic. The honorees for 2008 included Jackie Branfield, Simon Fuller and Queen Latifah. Jackie Branfield is the founder and director of Operation Bobbi Bear, which protects sexually abused children from social and judicial neglect while preventing further abuse and HIV infection in South Africa. Simon Fuller, the creative and executive producer of Idol and Idol Gives Back, which has effectively raised over $76 million for charities last season alone and has mobilized the American people to take action. Queen Latifah has shown incredible dedication and leadership in speaking out about HIV/AIDS through film, music and advocacy at a time when this was not a “fashionable” thing to do.

The theme of this year’s event was ‘Dreams’ which highlighted the juxtaposition between the American Dream for prosperity and happiness, which we know so well, and the African Dream for the most basic things, like survival, health and clean water. David Stark Design in conjunction with KCA Creative Director, Earle Sebastian crafted a beautiful museum-like environment that exhibited everyday items that we often take for granted. Items such as a comb, a toothbrush and building blocks, inspiring our guests to help make the dreams of medical treatment, the dream of food, clean water and of love from people who care, a reality.

On this very special night, we were able to make one African Dream come true for an incredibly talented 15-year-old from Rwanda, named Noah. Noah runs a child-headed household while also struggling with HIV/AIDS. When team KCA met him earlier this year on our visit to the KCA sites, he said his dream was to record his music in order to support his family. KCA brought him to New York, where he recorded his song ‘Abavandimwe’ (Brotherhood) and performed it in front of our esteemed Black Ball guests alongside Alicia.

In another ‘first’ for us at KCA, we unveiled the first Key of Life, an 18-karat, white old, diamond-studded key available to KCA supporters. Proceeds from the sale of a single key are donated in full to KCA, which provides support for 18 treatment and care for 18 patients with HIV/AIDS for an entire year. The first in a series of 100 keys generously handcrafted by Alexander Amosu was presented to Alicia Keys at Black Ball and 28 were pledged for by our esteemed guests. We also had a brilliant auction by Hugh Edmeades & Tash Perrin of Christie’s, comprised of one of a kind experiences and items.

The Black Ball is Keep a Child Alive’s largest fundraiser. The donations raised throughout the evening allow KCA to continue the growth and expansion of our clinics and orphanages while providing treatment and surrounding care to children and families affected by the AIDS pandemic. We are so grateful to all of our guests for their support and generosity. In the words of our Co-Founder and Global Ambassador, Alicia Keys it is so ”inspiring to see such an outpouring of support for such resilient people who are far away but always close to our heart.”

Title Sponsor

Ted Forstmann
Padma Lakshmi

  • AEG
  • AVON
  • BET Networks
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Bloomberg
  • Clarins Group USA
  • Clear Channel Radio
  • Clive Davis
  • Creative Artists Agency
  • David Saltz
  • Dessi Popov
  • EMI Music Publishing
  • Entertainment Industry Foundation
  • Giorgio Armani
  • Joe Cayre
  • Lauren & Martin Geller
  • Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s
  • Magna International Inc.
  • Martin Lawrence Galleries
  • Momma Keys
  • MWW Group
  • News Corporation
  • Orbital Marketing
  • RCA/Jive Label Group
  • Sony Music Entertainment
  • Sony/ATV Music Publishing
  • The Walt Disney Studios
  • Ubuntu/Mark Shuttleworth
  • vitaminwater
  • William Morris Agency
  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
  • WMI
Special thanks to:

  • Affinia Hotels
  • Bob’s African Wine
  • Glaceau smartwater
  • Quintessentially
  • Toy Watch

Thanks to our auction donors:

  • Lonnie Ali
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Alexander Amosu
  • Jon Baker
  • Sir Richard Branson
  • Canali
  • Continental Airlines
  • Hugh Edmeades
  • GeeJam
  • La Bandita
  • Notting Hill Design
  • Quintessentially
  • Roar Africa
  • South African Airways
  • Tash Perrin
  • Gisele Theriault
  • ToyWatch

Thanks to our gift bag donors:

  • Afrikya Goods
  • Biscottea
  • Clarins
  • CoverGirl
  • Exhale/Soho
  • Iman Cosmetics
  • Juicy Couture
  • Faith Connexion
  • Quintessentially
  • ReelU Films/dal La Magna
  • Putumayo
  • Simon and Schuster
  • Something South African
  • Toy Watch
Black Ball 2008 Chairs

  • Jessica Alba
    Global Ambassador
    Keep a Child Alive
  • Richard D. Beckman
    Conde Nast Media Group
  • Leigh Blake
    Founder & President
    Keep a Child Alive
  • Kelly Bush
    Chief Executive Officer
  • Shakim Compere
    President & Chief Executive Officer

    Flavor Unit Entertainment

  • Clive Davis
    Chief Creative Officer
    Sony Music Entertainment
  • Roger Faxon
    Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
    EMI Music Publishing
  • Michael Kempner
    President & Chief Executive Officer
    MWW Group
  • Padma Lakshmi
    Global Ambassador
    Keep a Child Alive
  • Jeff Robinson
    President & Chief Executive Officer
    MBK Entertainment
  • Michael Strahan