Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Colin Kaepernick, Usher, and More Gather to Celebrate Art and Activism at the Annual Gordon Parks Foundation Gala


On Tuesday, a crowd of artists, athletes, educators and activists descended on 42 Via Cipriani for the Gordon Parks Foundation's annual gala. An amazing cocktail hour that felt like a family reunion with collaborators and friends Asher, Gayle King, And Ben Stiller Spotting each other among the undulating crowds of enchanted gowns to initiate warm embraces or airy kisses, the festivities opened.

The star-studded guest list more than exemplified Gordon Parks' influence and legacy on contemporary culture: it served as a representation of the multifaceted nature of Parks' career, work, and spirit. King, who described the evening as a “night of black excellence,” paid tribute to the civil rights activist and former president of the NAACP. myrlie evers williams, Who addressed the audience via a video message. Tim Reed And Sheri Bronfman He paid tribute to the late Richard Roundtree, who starred in Parks' 1971 film The slot. Bronfman treated the audience to tales of working with the duo before joking about her speech lasting too long. “I'm going to read it in my writing class,” Bronfman exclaimed before concluding her remarks. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Patti Smith He then took the stage for a surprise performance of “Peaceable Kingdom” alongside the bandmate Tony Shanahan.

“Gordon Parks was a big believer in that [the idea that] “All kinds of beings can make and change the world,” said the foundation's executive director Peter W. Kunhardt Son Tell Vanity gallery. “Whether you're an athlete, a photographer, a choreographer, or a filmmaker – they're all using their creative means to make a difference in the world. So tonight's honorees are truly a cross-section of artists and activists and are supporting the next generation of young artists through our fellowship program.”

Under the joking supervision of the auctioneer hugh hildesley, The foundation has raised a record $2.3 million to advance the organization's work, which includes scholarships and community initiatives. Before working for Vogue magazine And life In the magazine, Parks was the first recipient of the Julius Rosenwald Photography Fellowship in 1941, which led to his appointment to the Farm Security Administration in Washington, D.C. “The rest is history,” Kunhardt said.

During the auction, one of Parks's vibrantly colored works depicting an ice cream shop in isolated Alabama sold for more than $200,000, after a bidding match between Asher and another guest. Asher lost a lot but got a surprise item soon after, much to the satisfaction of the rest of the room.

A former Foundation Fellow, photographer and activist Devin Allen This year's fellows were then honored: Howard University professor larry W Cook, Chicago-based activist and artist tunica louis johnson, and Baltimore author Dr.. Watkins. Amy Sherald Presented the Patrons of the Arts Award to Alicia Keys And Qassem “Swizz Beatz” Dean, They shout out fellow artists in Dean's group to responsive shouts of approval and pride.

“When I think of Gordon Parks, I think in a way that comes from real, real love and a real, real desire to make something special because it means something to you and it means something to the people who are able to see it and hear it,” Keys said when accepting the award. “See it and witness it, and then it becomes very special.” Because it means something to all of us.” “When these kids go to kindergarten Giants [the couple’s exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum] And these five-year-olds go to see Hell's Kitchen [the musical based loosely on Keys’ own experience growing up in New York] They know that there is no place where we do not belong: that is the point.

Notions of generational uplift and the responsibility to care for those who come next persisted Carrie Mae Weems Give a tribute to the mixed media artist Mickalene Thomas. “Mickalene, you are an inspiration and a marvel,” Weems declared. “Woman of this Time.” Thomas, likewise, was moved to tears. “In 1994, I watched 'The Kitchen Table,' and it changed my life. I wanted to be an artist that day. Thirty years later, I stand before you and I am that artist.”

exit Spike Lee The evening's awards ceremony concluded with a final performance in which he lamented the New York Knicks, saying, “Since Sunday afternoon, I've been feeling kind of blue,” drawing laughter from those in attendance before directing the audience to stand in honor of the athlete and activist. Colin Kaepernick.

As the celebrations come to a raucous end under the vocal guidance of the DJ D-ness, Who composed the inspiring side of the song “Not Like Us.” Kendrick Lamar Dis path aims to drake, inside So short Guests of “Blow the Whistle” stream into the bar, the dance floor, or into the waiting cars, and Qasim Deen’s former sentiments seem to carry through every farewell, closing conversation, and final embrace. “We have a lot of work to do,” Dean said. “with giants, It's just the beginning. “With Gordon, this is just the beginning.”



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