Keep a Child Alive's Annual Black Ball 2014

October 2014. New York City, NY, Hammerstein Ballroom at The Manhattan Center

On October 30, 2014, Empire Entertainment served as producer for Keep a Child Alive’s 11th Annual Black Ball at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Generously sponsored by Parfums Givenchy and Jynwel Charitable Foundation Limited, the Black Ball featured extraordinary performances by Alicia Keys, Sean Puffy Combs, David Byrne, NAS and Angel Haze.

Hosted by Keep a Child Alive’s co-founder and 15-time Grammy Award-winning artist, Alicia Keys, Grammy Award winner Sean Puffy Combs, and the legendary Swizz Beatz, the Black Ball has raised over $22.6 million since its humble beginnings in 2004.

The event, designed by Creative Director Earle Sebastian, featured an elegant cocktail reception under a ceiling of simulated stars that were reflected in black mirror with music by DJ Dhundee. In the main ballroom guests were seated at long tables topped with candles and all-white floral arrangements. A proud Alicia Keys and CEO of KCA, Peter Twyman, took the stage to deliver inspiring remarks about the power and potential of young people living with HIV/AIDS.

This year’s Black Ball honored Givenchy’s Artistic Director, Riccardo Tisci, for inspiring new and compassionate ways of thinking through his bold and unapologetic voice in challenging discrimination while breaking cultural barriers in the fashion industry and beyond.

A star-studded guest list of over 600 came out to support Keep a Child Alive’s mission with guests including Madonna, Kanye West, Clive Davis, Selita Ebanks, Estelle, Gayle King, Lala Anthony, Marina Abramovic, Aretha Franklin, Olivia Harrison, Padma Lakshmi, Russell Simmons, Steve Van Zandt, Alek Wek, Mr. Brainwash and amongst others.

Guests dined on a delicious family-style dinner, with a menu designed by guest chef Johnathan Adler of Franny’s Brooklyn and catered by Creative Edge. This year’s Black Ball raised $2.3 million through table/ticket sales, sponsorships, donations, pledges and a live auction that featured a rare Givenchy purse and one-of-a-kind shirt designed by Riccardo Tisci, an India wellness trip package, a Dubai and Maldives luxury vacation, an exclusive dinner and tasting of Remy Martin Louis XIII Black Pearl cognac, two custom designed pairs of Christian Louboutin shoes for parent and child, and other exclusive packages.

Alicia Keys and her band then put on an exceptional performance that, true to Black Ball tradition, featured several amazing musical guests.

Sean Puffy Combs joined Keys to open the concert for an old school classic “Mo Money Mo Problems,” and started the energy on high. Rising star Angel Haze then came out to perform OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” segueing into a duet with Keys on “Battle Cry".

NAS took the stage next with a hard hitting set of “Streets of NYC,” “New York State of Mind” and “Made You Look.” Puffy then joined him for a pumping “Hate Me Now.” NAS brought out a crowd favorite Phil Collins song, “Coming in the Air Tonight” then a duet with Keys on “If I Ruled the World.”

Closing out the concert, legendary Talking Heads frontman David Byrne joined Alicia Keys to perform “Once in the Lifetime", “Strange Overtones", "Life is Long", “It’s my Life” and “Burning Down the House".

Swizz Beatz and DJ Runna took to the stage to DJ the Afterglow party, having all guests dancing into the early hours of the morning.

Empire has been proud to serve as the Producer of the Black Ball since its inception in 2003 and partner with Keep a Child Alive and Alicia Keys over the past decade to grow it into one of New York’s most anticipated annual fundraising events.

To learn more about Keep a Child Alive, please go to

Photos: Chris Saunders and Winston Struye

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