When [artist id="503203"]Alicia Keys[/artist] established the Keep a Child Alive organization, she set out to raise a bit of money, awareness and support for families in Africa and India who have been affected by AIDS. What began as a small idea has blossomed into a major charity organization, as evidenced by the group's annual Black Ball. Held on Thursday night (October 15), the event hosted 1,000 guests and raised $2.4 million at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom.
"Keep a Child Alive will continue to serve the poor devastated by this disease, and we are so happy that more than 250,000 have already received our services since our inception," Keys said in a statement. "We will continue to fight for them as long as it takes."
The event, which was co-hosted by Keys, supermodel Iman and "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi, honored a trio of special guests, each of whom have made strides in helping the KCA cause: former President Bill Clinton (recognized for his Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative), Virgin chief Sir Richard Branson (for his work with Virgin Unite) and Senegalese singer Yossou N'Dour (who has used his music to combat malaria and poverty in Africa). N'Dour also performed at the event, along with Keys, [artist id="1220799"]John Mayer[/artist] and [artist id="1111141"]Coldplay[/artist] frontman Chris Martin.
Keys welcomed an eclectic number of A-list stars to the show, including Halle Berry, Usher, Spike Lee, Nick Cannon, David Bowie, Mary J. Blige and Swizz Beatz. The guests were not only treated to the performances but also a dinner (with a menu designed by Lakshmi) and a fund-raising auction. Keys' new album The Element of Freedom drops in December, but this may be her greatest accomplishment of the year.