Allee Willis, the eccentric Songwriter Hall of Fame writer who co-penned Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” and “Boogie Wonderland,” as well as the Friends theme “I’ll Be There For You,” died in 2019, but her commitment to supporting diverse songwriters and multimedia artists from underserved communities continues through her Willis Wonderland Foundation.
The non-profit foundation will hold its inaugural fundraiser on Sept. 21 (just listen to the “September” lyrics if the significance of that date didn’t land) at downtown Los Angeles’ venue Valentine. Event host committee members include RuPaul, Lily Tomlin, Luenell, Paul Reubens and Jenifer Lewis.
“I’m thrilled to celebrate the legacy of renaissance woman, Allee Willis. Through her music, her foundation, and her legendary friendships, she will continue to inspire others for generations to come,” RuPaul said in a statement.
Willis’ longtime partner, Prudence Fenton, created the foundation following Willis’ death to preserve her legacy. It also funds mentorships, seminars, lectures and podcasts, as well as artist-in-residence programs at Willis Wonderland, Willis’ home in Valley Village purchased with her first “Boogie Wonderland” royalty check. The house holds one of the world’s largest collections of pop-culture kitsch memorabilia.
The evening, dubbed Night of Wonders, will include a live auction of some of Willis’ most notable collectibles, as well as a fashion show and sing-along.
As a sign of the breadth and duration of her career, Willis was nominated for two Grammy Awards exactly 30 years apart: She was nominated and won a Grammy for best soundtrack album for a motion picture or television special for Beverly Hills Cop in 1986 (she co-wrote “Neutron Dance”), and then was nominated for best musical theater album in 2016 for Broadway hit The Color Purple.
Tickets for Night of Wonders are available here.