“Look at all this black excellence.” That overheard remark by an invited guest indeed summed up the chill yet celebratory vibe at Roc Nation’s The Brunch on Saturday (Feb. 9).
The coveted Grammy Week soiree not only boasted power couple Beyonce and Roc Nation founder JAY-Z (who wore a bespoke two-piece FRÈRE suit). It also drew others at the top of their respective business and creative pursuits including Sean “Diddy” Combs, Nipsey Hussle, Meek Mill, Janelle Monae, Miguel, Big Sean, Usher, Normani, Epic Records president Sylvia Rhone, Roc Nation CEO Jay Brown, Atlantic’s president of black music Michael Kyser, iHeart Media executive vp of urban/hip-hop programming strategy Doc Wynter and actor/comedian Kevin Hart.
Late-morning rain threatened to dampen the party atmosphere as guests huddled under a white tent in a UCLA parking lot while awaiting shuttles to an undisclosed location. As black vans wound their way up the hills far above Sunset Boulevard, dark clouds gave way to bright sunshine as guests disembarked in front of a private residence whose long entryway was bordered on either side by white draped curtains. Above were hung small blue and yellow umbrellas while columns on either side of the doorway were covered in yellow roses.
A long hallway — with a wall covered in greenery and dotted with framed photos of gatherings featuring JAY-Z and friends like Will Smith — led into a large white tent with see-through plastic ceiling panels for the sun to shine through. Inside, wait staff bearing trays of champagne (Ace of Spades) and mixed drinks made their way among the guests who were asked to wear “brunch chic cocktail attire and suits.” Sofas and chairs in solid blue and white were positioned in different seating areas throughout the massive tents while vibrantly hued flowers adorned throughout. The blue and white motif even extended to the patterned cloth napkins at the food stations offering beef with onion strips, broccolini, rolls and other fare.
One unforgettable moment occurred when Diddy caught sight of music industry veteran Clarence Avant, nicknamed the godfather of black music. Kneeling down before Avant, Diddy grasped both of the older gentleman’s hands and began kissing each one to laughter from Avant and other guests. Later that evening, Avant received the 2019 Grammy Salute to Industry Icons award at the annual Pre-Grammy Gala presented by The Recording Academy and Clive Davis. Past recipients of the honor include Irving Azoff, Martin Bandier, Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, Berry Gordy, Lucian Grainge, Debra L. Lee and Antonio “L.A.” Reid.
Among other celebs spotted at Roc Nation’s The Brunch, in conjunction with partners PUMA, American Express and Barclays Center: Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, DJ Khaled, Fat Joe, Machine Gun Kelly, Grimes and Robin Thicke plus costume designer June Ambrose, actor Stephan James and Grey’s Anatomy co-stars Ellen Pompeo and Jesse Williams.