The Amy Winehouse Inspiration Awards & Gala was held last week on March 21, 2013 in the heart of New York City in the Starlight Rooms of the beautiful and iconic Waldorf Astoria.
The red carpet event featured special performances from Jennifer Hudson and Tony Bennett as well as many celebrity guests and honourees who were presented with Amy Winehouse Foundation Awards for their inspirational work. Both performances blew the room away, and each received standing ovations.
Among this year’s awards was the AWF Inspiration Award for Lifetime Achievement presented to the Grammy award-winning singer and legendary entertainer Mr. Tony Bennett, In addition to his many philanthropic endeavors as well as his impact on music history, Mr. Bennett was someone that Amy deeply admired and had the opportunity to record with in a collaboration of “Body & Soul”. The Duet won the Grammy last year for “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” and a percentage of the proceeds from the single was donated by Tony to the Foundation. Tony was presented his award by hid old friend Harry Belafonte, who not only spoke about Tony’s incredible music career and influence, but also about their involvement in the civil rights movement. You could have heard a pin drop in the room during this poignant moment and it was a true honour to be in their presence.
Before the event we joined NAS backstage at the London o2 Arena on his LifeIsGood Tour, where Amy’s mother and Manager presented him with The AWF Inspiration Award for a New Generation. Nas kindly very kindly donated £1 from the sale of every ticket to this event to the Foundation, an incredibly generous gesture for which we are very grateful. Unfortunately Nas was unable to attend the ball, but a VT was shown at the Gala to rapturous applause. NAS was first introduced to Amy’s music in 2004 through producer Salaam Remi and they became instant friends. “She was really inspired by him,” says ReMI, who produced the Amy/NAS collaborations “Like Smoke” and “Cherry Wine”. Not only did the two share a similarity in the way they approached music but they shared the same birthday (September 14th). “Amy was an amazing talent and a special artist. She was like a little sister to me,” says NAS, “I’m happy to be involved with a foundation that not only keeps her memory alive but helps support those things she cared most about- kids and music.”
The AWF Inspiration Award for Visionary Leadership went to Salaam Remi, the Grammy nominated producer and Executive Vice President, A&R and Production, Sony Music Entertainment. Remi worked with Amy on all her award winning albums including Frank and Back to Black. He not only worked with Amy and NAS, but also the likes of Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill and performer on the night Jennifer Hudson. This illustrious career, including his significant philanthropic work and creative vision, has significantly impacted and developed the careers of many, and Amy loved his passion and respected his genius and thought of SaLaAM as family. During his acceptance speech Salaam said it was a “bitter sweet moment”.
The last prestigious award of the night went to Elhadj “Moe” Kane, who received The AWF Inspiration Award for Helping Build a Better World. Mr. Kane’s focus on renewable energy solutions to power the world on into the future as well as co-founding the humanitarian consortium FEWS (Food Electricity Water and Shelter for all) made him the perfect recipient for this award.
These awards were our first major event in America while will have raised awareness and resources for the Foundation in the United States. Our mission in the US is to support and empower young people in need through music therapy and music education and to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people. We aim to support, inform and inspire vulnerable and disadvantaged young people to help them reach their full potential.
This is just one of the many incredible things the foundation have done so far this year so and have so many other exciting projects to look forward to. Life is exciting when you are making a difference and getting the support to the young people who really need it, which is what we are all about and I for one am so grateful to be a part of it all!
A huge thank you to everyone who helped put this event together including:
Julie Muraco, Tracey Miller PR, The Saxton Group and our official Sponsor Adot.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week