The We Are Family Foundation (WAFF), a not-for-profit organization founded by legendary songwriter and producer, Nile Rodgers, honored Adam Lambert with the Unity Award at its annual Celebration Gala, on Thursday, January 31, 2013, at Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.
The evening was hosted by actress Rosie Perez and Touré, co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle,” and included a concert featuring Adam Lambert, Nile Rodgers & CHIC and special guests, Taylor Dayne, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, Kathy Sledge, Sam Sparro, and Russell Peters.
The night kicked off with a star-studded red carpet and cocktail hour where guests mingled and congratulated extraordinary global citizens Adam Lambert and fellow honorees, Jeni Stepanek, Ph.D. and Reservoir Capital Group founder Daniel H. Stern, as well as a group of 21 extraordinary teenagers who are part of WAFF’s Three Dot Dash Global Teen Leader program. Other notable attendees included WAFF President Nancy Hunt; WAFF Director Emeritus & Television Host Montel Williams; WAFF WAFF Director Emeritus & Tommy Boy Entertainment Founder & CEO Tom Silverman; WAFF Board of Governors member & The B-52’s Singer Kate Pierson; Musician & Model Bebe Buell; Musician & Producer Jim Wallerstein; New York Giants Cornerback Justin Tryon; Actress Sean Young; Power 105.1 Radio Personality Angela Yee; Real Housewives of New York City Aviva Drescher, LuAnn De Lesseps, Ramona Singer and husband Mario; The Smiths Bass Guitarist Andy Rourke; The Village People singer Randy Jones; Author & Television Personality Kelly Cutrone; Hip Hop Artist Q-Tip; Celebrity Hairstylist Angelo David; Celebrity Psychic Thomas John; Celebrity Eyebrow Stylist Joey Healy; Television Personality, Founder & CEO, Over 40 Females Judy Goss; Philanthropist Jean Shafiroff; Celebrity DJ & Founder of Rasa Music Donna D’Cruz; Love & Hip Hop Star Lore’l; Singer, Songwriter & Radio Personality Fonzi Thornton; Rock Keyboardist Rob Sabino; Former Ford Models CEO Katie Ford; United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria Ray Chambers; Percussionist & Drummer Gerardo Velez; Architect, Designer, Founder & Rockwell Group CEO David Rockwell; Documentary Filmmaker & Portrait Photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; Warner Bros. Records Vice President & Sire Records Co-Founder Seymour Stein; and WAFF Board of Governors member & Entertainment Industry Executive Michael Ostin.
After an introduction by Touré, WAFF Founder & Chairman, legendary songwriter and producer Nile Rodgers took the stage to welcome the evening’s guests. WAFF President Nancy Hunt spoke next, thanking guests for their support and emphasizing the significance of investing in the world’s youth through WAFF’s mission and existing programs such as Three Dot Dash, WAFF’s signature program, which identifies, supports and mentors Global Teen Leaders actively working on programs that address basic human needs and promoting a more peaceful world; and TEDxTeen, a global educational platform for extraordinary teens to share their stories and inspire millions.
“These are the leaders of the NOW and the future,” Hunt said. “These are the people that really exemplify the We Are Family Foundation. These are the people we have invested in, and these are the people that you have invested in tonight.”
After an introduction by WAFF Board of Governors members Rosie Perez, who wore a jumpsuit by Lorena Sarbu, and Simon Cohen, 21 Global Teen Leaders from eight different countries spoke about their experiences with the program and how they have been able to affect positive change in the world.
Adam Lambert received the Unity Award for his commitment to spreading peaceful messages through their music. This year, Lambert graciously donated his 31st birthday, January 29, 2013, to WAFF, asking his fans, friends and family to donate to the cause. Those who donate $31 or more to the cause will be able to record a 10-second video birthday message to Lambert, which will be included in what WAFF hopes will be the “World’s Biggest Birthday Card.” Those who donate less than $31 will still have a chance to sign birthday card as well. Lambert’s birthday card donations have raised close to $45,000 so far.
Jeni Stepanek, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation, received the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award, named in honor of her late son, 13-year-old poet and peacemaker, Mattie J.T. Stepanek, for her significant contribution toward promoting a peaceful society. Daniel H. Stern, founder of Reservoir Capital Group, was honored with the Visionary Award for his extraordinary local and global philanthropic contributions.
Celebrating the honor, Lambert later took to the stage with Sam Sparro and music legend Nile Rodgers for their first performance of ‘Shady’, a track which they collaborated on for Adam’s second album “Trespassing”. Afterward, Nile Rodgers and CHIC took over, performing such iconic tunes as “Le Freak,” “Everybody Dance,” “I Want Your Love,” and “Good Times” with Grandmaster Caz, Grandmaster Melle Mel and Russell Peters before the honorees, Foundation team and guests took the stage together to close the evening with a show-stopping rendition of “We Are Family” with Sister Sledge’s Kathy Sledge, the original voice of “We Are Family.”
An exciting live auction attracted bidders with such items a one-of-a-kind, large format Polaroid portrait by Timothy Greenfield Sanders of 20×24 Studios; a private guitar lesson with Nile Rodgers, an autographed Fender Stratocaster & “LeFreak,” his best-selling memoir; a VIP experience at the 2013 Montreux Jazz Festival; a seven-night Caribbean holiday at Amanyara in Turks & Caicos; a visit to the set of America’s Next Top Model and one-on-one fashion consultation with Kelly Cutrone; a limited edition 1990 Stevie Ray Vaughan Fender Stratocaster signed by Jimmie Vaughan, Nile Rodgers and Buddy Guy; access to Sooze Plunkett-Green, Nile Rodgers’ infamous, British spitfire of an Executive Assistant, for one week; and an unlimited number of opportunities to sponsor a Three Dot Dash Global Teen Leader.