Backbeat: Stevie Wonder Brings the House Down @ Will.I.Am's Grammy Charity Concert
Backbeat: Stevie Wonder Brings the House Down @ Will.I.Am's Grammy Charity Concert

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Continent hopping: Fresh off the plane from MIDEM in France, BMG Rights Management CEO Hartwig Masuch (left) and BMG Rights Management COO of North America Laurent Hubert enjoy the show. (Photo: Mitchell Peters)

The Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am took advantage of Grammy Week by throwing the first annual benefit concert for his i.am angel Foundation at Los Angeles' Hollywood Palladium on Feb. 9.

In addition to guest speakers that included Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya, the concert featured performances by will.i.am, Stevie Wonder, Ne-Yo, Coco Lee and K'naan.

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The theme of last night's benefit -- which included an open bar, hors d'oeuvres aplenty and an unusual amount of 25-year-olds in miniskirts, even for Hollywood -- centered on will.i.am's mission to help young students from his East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. Villaraigosa, who also originally hails from the area, joked that he actually went to school with will.i.am's uncle, and described the BEP member as having "a heart of an angel." Will.i.am also gave shout-outs to Interscope Records chief Jimmy Iovine and the label for allowing him to fulfill his dreams.

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Interscope Records chief Jimmy Iovine, who was honored Feb. 8 at the 5th annual Producers & Engineers Wing Event, walks through the crowd during a performance. Earlier in the evening Iovine got a shout-out from will.i.am, who said that his career wouldn't have been possible without the help of the record label exec and Interscope. (Photo: Mitchell Peters)

Other guests in attendance at last night's concert included Iovine, BMG Rights Management CEO Hartwig Masuch, BMG Rights Management COO of North America Laurent Hubert, singer LeAnn Rimes, American Express regional VP/GM Angel G. Maroto, Villaraigosa and the Black Eyed Peas' Taboo and apl.de.ap.

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Loungin' around at will.i.am's first i.am agel benefit concert. Left to right: American Express regional VP/GM Angel G. Maroto (gray sweater), Toms Shoes VP of partnerships Andy Salzer (black-framed glasses), and Revolve Clothing COO David Pujadas. (Photo: Mitchell Peters)

Iovine was seen meandering through the crowd directly in front of the stage during the performances, while BMG's Masuch lounged on the white leather couches set up on floor inside the Hollywood Palladium. And although the evening featured upbeat performances from the likes of Coco Lee, K'naan and Ne-Yo, the hands-down highlight of the show was a medley from Wonder that included such classics as "Superstition," "Sir Duke" and "Isn't She Lovely."

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Sponsors of the benefit concert included BMG, American Express, Interscope, the Starkey Hearing Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, the Robert Roche Family and others.

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It's all about family: Will.i.am brought out members of his family to enjoy last night's concert. Left to right: sister Mandy Jackson, sister-in-law Chiana Gilliam and mother Debra Cain. (Photo: Mitchell Peters)

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An overhead shot of the sponsor tables at will.i.am's first annual benefit concert for his i.am angel Foundation at Los Angeles' Hollywood Paladium on Feb. 9. (Photo: Mitchell Peters)