Billboard reports the following:
It was clear that Ms. Scott wasn’t going to just run down her extensive catalog of soulful music. Instead, she was creating something new with each song. Before her smooth rendition of “Come See Me,” the songstress, now wearing a collared shirt and big glasses with wavy black hair, informed everyone that she was a world traveling PhD recipient. The scholar was obviously uptight, until a man came along and changed all that. Her glasses soon came off and Scott began to sing “Crown Royal,” with so much energy that she almost started scatting in the tradition of jazz greats at the end.
By the time she got to “Cross My Mind,” Jill Scott had everyone in the room wrapped around her finger. Backed by a 15-piece band, the singer’s show flowed effortlessly. This time donning a short bob, the R&B star sang two unique versions of “Quick” before taking her time with “The Fact Is (I Need You).”
But it was an anxious bride to be who delivered “The Way You Love Me” and “He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat).” Singing the last lines in Spanish, she hit operatic notes as only someone deeply in love could. In a long flowing black dress, Scott re-emerged one final time to take the audience to the highest heights with “Love Rain,” “Golden,” and “I’m So Blessed.” “I woke up in the morning feeling fresh to death, I’m so blessed,” she sang, as the crowd rose to their feet.
In the short span of one night, Jill Scott managed to embody many different women. Her seamless transitions were complemented by vibrant renditions of songs that her fans love. By the end of her ‘VH1 Storytellers’ performance, premiering on May 21 on 11 pm EST, the singer felt like an old friend.
Watch a clip below.
*Not only did Alicia Keys perform hit songs and covers at her annual charity event Thursday night in New York, but she also did everything in her power to extract extra money from her guests while entertaining them.
During an auction to raise money for Keep a Child Alive, Keys took off two 18-carat gold bracelets and put them up for bid. Once someone agreed to buy the items for $14,000, a light bulb seemed to switch in her brain, reports the Associated Press.
“Wait a minute, I have an idea. I was just thinking, since I have two that we could sell one to you for $14,000, and one to you for $14,000,” she said, pointing at two different people. “Isn’t that a great idea?”
Altogether, Keys raised $401,500 through auctions at her Black Ball event, which celebrates Keep a Child Alive, her 8-year-old organization aiding HIV/AIDS victims in Africa and India. Celebrities at the Black Ball event included Serena Williams, David Arquette, Queen Latifah, Tyra Banks, Clive Davis and Keys’ husband, rapper-producer Swizz Beatz. [See photos.]
A dinner party with Edward Norton and Naomi Watts went for $25,000 and a trip to Paris Fashion Week to see shows by Givenchy sold for $15,000. The top bid was a lifetime membership to all Donald Trump golf properties, selling at $180,000.
Keys was joined onstage by Usher, Richie Sambora, Norah Jones, Gary Clark, Jr., and others at the event Thursday night at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom. She closed the night with Black Eyed Peas’ leader will.i.am, singing Fergie’s verse on the hit “I Gotta Feeling,” which had Keys’ mom and younger brother dancing happily onstage.
The event honored the charity’s commitment to India, showing videos of children in the country battling with HIV/AIDS, and being kicked out of their homes as a result.
“We all deserve a chance at life,” Keys said in an interview on the red carpet. “Tonight really goes to the people. It really goes to the people that we serve, so that they can have the medicine to live.”
George Harrison, the late Beatles guitarist, was honored for his philanthropic commitments to India and his 1971 concert for Bangladesh with Ravi Shankar, which funded relief efforts for East Pakistan refugees following the 1970 Bhola cyclone. Harrison’s widow, Olivia Harrison, said she would make a pledge to Keys’ charity.
Another honoree was Anthony Scaramucci, the author and managing partner of SkyBridge Capital. He said he and SkyBridge will raise $1 million for Keys’ charity next year.
*Mary J. Blige has recruited Anita Baker, Jill Scott, Corinne Bailey Rae, Queen Latifah, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Hudson to perform at her charity concert to help send disadvantaged young women to college.
Proceeds will benefit the Foundation For the Advancement of Women Now (Ffawn), an organization she formed with record executive Steve Stoute in 2008.
The gig will also feature performances from Blige herself and will take place at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom on May 1.
A statement posted on the charity’s website reads, “Both Mary and Steve called on close friends and powerful entertainers from various genres… each agreeing to lend their voice to Ffawn in the name of education for girls everywhere. Mary and her friends will share the stage to showcase their talents and inspire others to give back.”
Last year, the foundation paid for 25 girls to go to college with full four-year scholarships.