*Mary J. Blige, Naomi Campbell, Chris Tucker and Jennifer Lopez were on hand to help drive up bids on a number of luxury items at the annual Cinema Against AIDS benefit held Thursday near the Cannes Film Festival in France.
Blige sang her acapella rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” and shared a performance bill with punk icon Patti Smith, according to the Associated Press.
The celeb-drenched crowd – which included Paris Hilton, producer Harvey Weinstein, actress Naomi Watts, rocker Mick Jagger and designer Giorgio Armani – were encouraged to bid generously on about 10 luxury lots – including a gold-plated bottle of champagne and a monkey-shaped pendant in diamonds and gemstones.
Sharon Stone usually emcees the annual event, but her shooting schedule prevented her from attending this year’s gala, so other celebrities took turns revving up the crowd. “Gladiator” star Russell Crowe and designer-turned-movie director Tom Ford were among those who took to helped lead the auction.
The event held in the French Riviera town of Cap d’Antibes raised $6.7 million for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), a nonprofit organization that supports HIV/AIDS research. The emcees emphasized that the economic crisis has made their bids more crucial than ever. Last year, the event brought in just $4.5 million — roughly half the money raised in 2008.
A single seat at the 2010 auction cost $6,000. A 6-liter bottle of Dom Perignon sold for $80,000. Other high-fetching lots included a day with former President Bill Clinton, which went for $220,000, and a flight in a fighter jet, which reached $170,000.