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It was a balmy night in Hollywood, but that did not keep celebrities devoted to friendship and charity away from a birthday fundraiser for apl.de.ap (Allan Pineda Lindo) of hip hop group the Black Eyed Peas. The red carpet arrivals streamed into the Vanguard Nightclub on November 27 with their party shoes on and their hearts on their sleeves – they were there to have fun and raise money for charities in the Philippines.

Black Eyed Peas members Taboo and will.i.am organized the event to celebrate apl.de.ap’s 33rd birthday and to pay tribute to the charities that have helped him in the past. Will.i.am was the first of the group to arrive, and he spoke with the press about his holiday plans and new musical ventures with Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson. Will was excited about the fundraiser because it showed how far he and his friends had come – they were now able to bring their blessings full circle and give back to the communities that raised them.

Taboo was next to arrive. He was excited to be back in the States, and was happy to spend time with his fourteen year old son Joshua. He also said that events like this showed the love the Black Eyed Peas had for others. When they established The Black Eyed Peas Foundation in the early nineties, the band wanted to be sure to give something back to each of their diverse backgrounds – wil.i.am represents the USA, Taboo is of Mexican descent, and apl.de.ap was born and raised in the Philippines.

“For me to go to the Philippines and for him to go to Mexico to integrate our cultures is beyond success, beyond selling millions of records”, Taboo said to explain how the Black Eyed Peas were more than just about music. But the best part of putting this evening together for him was “being able to be with my best friends. Giving back to our community and our fans and doing it to make a difference not only in the States but overseas… to be able to be a part of that and to express our music and talent is a great thing because, beyond selling records, its about giving back for us…We have already won Grammy’s, MTV awards, sold 27 million records. What is there left to do? So now we are giving back and letting people know we are humans before artists.”

Apl. was beaming with pride when he arrived, excited that he was able to be part of an evening to raise money for charities… because he was raised by a charity himself. As a child in the Philippines, the singer was sponsored by an American through the Pearl S. Buck Foundation. His sponsor then decided to adopt him and brought him to the United States were he was able to achieve his dreams.

“It is very important to me to give back the same opportunity that was given to me,” Apl. said on the red carpet. “That’s the only way I know how to do it.”

Apl. is now going to try to hold a benefit annually, and give most of the money to the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, as well as to other Filipino Charities. The most challenging part of the evening for him was getting sponsors, but as soon as the name of a group as successful as the Black Eyed Peas was attached, sponsors came right on board.

The partygoers were from television, music, sport, and movies, as well as many from Los Angeles’ Filipino community. The celebrities who attended spoke of their own charities and how good they feel during the holiday season when they can help others.

Ultimate Fighting Champion Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, said he was there to support the charities of his friends. “I think it is real important to give back because God giveth and God taketh away…. I support my old high school wrestling team…charity starts at home too – I help out a lot of my family.”

Nate Parker, who will be starring in the new film The Great Debaters with Denzel Washington, was happy to be part of the evening. He is learning from some of the biggest givers in Hollywood that you have to be proud of where you come from and support the people who are still there. “Working with Denzel was a learning experience, not just about acting, but life and how to appreciate what you have. Helping out charities is the way to show you care.”

The celebrities that attended the event included Bi Ling, Bobby Brown, as well as funny guys Chris Reed, Aries Spears, and Ken Davitian. Young Filipino rapper Lil Jordan spit some lyrics on the red carpet for the crowd and showed his support for his ancestral country. VH1’s Celebrity Rap Superstar winner Shar Jackson was there in support of Apl. because he was a friend who always put others before his own needs.

“Hollywood needs more groups like the Black Eyed Peas to give back to the world,” she said.

After greeting the fans, Apl. performed some of his solo music and then shined the spotlight on the up-and-coming groups that the Black Eyed Peas were producing. The evening was deemed a success as it raised money for a great cause, created awareness for the Pearl S. Buck Foundation and other charities, and showed how giving to charities can make a difference in the life of a child.

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