“You know service is the best Prozac, or any drugs that are out there for stress. Service! It’s cheap, it’s good!” AIDS activist and Keep A Child Alive founder Leigh Blake told audiences yesterday at Condé Nast’s Black Ball in support of her organization.
Ms. Blake, who left school at 14 to follow the Who and subsequently spent her life surrounded by artists like Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles and the Talking Heads, knows a thing or two about hosting a rock and roll event.
The Ball was held at New York’s famous Hammerstein Ballroom and honored musician Bono (of course!). During the ceremony, a South African dance group performed a synthesis of traditional African dance and classical ballet to the beat of African drums, while guests liked Gwen Stefani (in a piercing blue halter dress), Russel Simmons, Clive Davis, David Bowie and wife Iman (wearing Monique Lhullier) enjoyed a dinner designed by Top Chef host and Keep A Child Alive world ambassador Padma Lakshmi (in off-white Dolce and Gabbana).
Ms. Blake was also joined by Alicia Keys, who co-founded Keep A Child Alive and performed at the ceremony.
The young singer, decked out in head-to-toe Armani and a lot of black patent leather, said she was taking a very special date to the Bungalow 8-themed, Amy Sacco-designed after-party.
“You know, I’m dating myself,” she said in her deep, velvety voice. “This beautiful woman named Alicia, I’m dating her. Seriously! I’m getting to know her better. I’m taking her out, I’m taking her where she wants to go! She’s learning new things and seeing new things. I think I like her.”
“It’s incredible to be performing,” she told The Daily Transom. “Keep a Child Alive is a passion of mine, and it’s something I constantly want to yell out about, so that people can understand that we provide the medicine for children and families that have AIDS who wouldn’t be able to afford it and that it’s necessary to do that.”
Supermodel and activist Petra Nemcova, famous for surviving the 2004 tsunami and a breakup with crooner James Blunt, is also an admirer of the beautiful Alicia.
“Alicia Keys and Leigh Blake, who I know, they’re very involved there. They’re very strong, inspiring…I’m inspired by their work,” she said, adding that she also admires “people like Bono and Audrey Hepburn.”
Christy Turlington, clad in black, skin-tight L’Wren Scott, echoed the night’s the feel-good sentiment.“As a mom, [service] helps me to come home and be able to not only appreciate [her children] in a different way, but I see their faces in every child that I see in the world, I see my face in all the mothers that I see in the world. It kind of just makes the world feel smaller, and it just feels good.”