LIFEbeat, the urban music industry’s AIDS charity, honored BET’s executive VP of programming Stephen Hill last night (Dec. 4) at New York City’s Highline Ballroom.
With special performances by Denise Rich, Sister Sledge’s Kathy Sledge and Mary J. Blige, Hill spent the better part of the night performing such cover songs as Prince’s “Kiss” and U2’s “Vertigo.” He was backed by a full band, four background singers, two backup dancers and pianist Mark Batson.
“I am thrilled to be honored by LIFEbeat,” Hill said. “My connection to this organization is strong and personal, having lost my best friend to AIDS almost 20 years ago. I am overjoyed that Mary J. Blige and Mark Batson lent their significant talents to the evening and the cause. We raised funds and supporting LIFEbeat, so that one day no one else will lose their best friend to AIDS.”
Hill comically asked Batson, who works closely with Dr. Dre, if indeed the hip-hop producer and Eminem are respectively working on future albums. To the crowd’s delight, Batson answered yes.
The event’s attendees included: Fat Joe, Baby, Ashanti, WQHT Hot 97 program director Ebro Darden, 785 Records’ CEO Denise Rich, Island/Def Jam Music Group chairman Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Def Jam’s senior VP of A&R Shakir Stewart, Grandmaster Flash, Capitol Music Group’s executive VP Ronnie Johnson, Koch Records’ executive VP Alan Grunblatt, Eminem’s manager Paul Rosenberg, WMG’s marketing and promotions senior VP Mike Kyser, P. Diddy, WMG’s executive VP Kevin Liles, Atlantic Record’s president Julie Greenwald, Missy Elliott, Motown’s president and executive VP of Universal Records Sylvia Rhone, WMG’s senior VP of Urban A&R Chris Hicks, Music Choice’s head of urban and Latin programming Lamonda Williams, WMG’s chairman/CEO Lyor Cohen, DJ Premier, J Records’ senior VP of Urban Promotion Geo Bivins, and MTV Networks president Van Toffler.
LIFEbeat is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reaching America’s youth with the message of HIV/AIDS prevention. It mobilizes the talents and resources of the music industry to raise awareness and to provide support to the AIDS community.