Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean is known across the music industry for his innovative production skills, ties with big name artists like Kanye West and Jay-Z, and his controversial courtship (and subsequent marriage) to singer Alicia Keys, but none of that mattered on the night of October 10th.
Children’s Rights, an organization formed to serve America’s abused and neglected foster children, held its Seventh Annual Benefit dinner that Wednesday evening. Dean was the guest of honor at the lavish and opulent event held in the Grand Ballroom of New York City’s famous Plaza Hotel. Other celebrity guests such as rapper Bow Wow, actor Nick Cannon, and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels (of Run DMC) walked the red carpet while attendees enjoyed a reception just before dinner began.
Mr. McDaniels opened the event with a welcome to all donors and introduced Marcia Robinson Lowry, the president and executive director of Children’s Rights. Ms. Lowry spoke about tumultuous lives faced by children in dangerous foster care situations and stressed the importance of the generosity of donors. Alan Myers, chairman of the Children’s Rights Board of Directors, joined Nick Cannon onstage to present the Children’s Rights Champion Award to Dean. Dean, clearly overwhelmed with emotion, gave a brief speech about the impact of Children’s Rights before introducing a video featuring children who have been aided by the efforts of the group.
Emalee Wooten, a young woman who was formerly in foster care, gave her disturbing yet inspiring story as a precursor to the call-to-action auction. Two $50,000 donors kicked off the auction, which lasted approximately five minutes and yielded over $230,000 in pledged donations. Donors were thanked profusely as an extravagant dinner of carmelized onion tarts, sirlion and short ribs, and lemon meringue tortes was served.
Once dinner concluded, donors were invited to an after-party in Terrace Room of the Plaza, where Dean took over as DJ and guests enjoyed miniature desserts, coffee, and an open bar. During the party, a silent auction was conducted to supplement the call-to-action auction earlier, and guests bid on items such as a Marc Jacobs bag donated by Moises de la Renta. Although results of the silent auction were not immediately made public, the signature sheets for each item filled quickly.
Overall, the Children’s Rights Benefit dinner was an amazing success, and I am thankful to have been able to witness in action the generosity of the privileged. Being able to interact with families directly affected by the work of this important organization was certainly motivating and inspiring to all in attendance.
Event covered & written by Crissle