Pharrell, Pitbull, Dionne Warwick, Lea Black Shine at Blacks’ Annual Gala

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On April - 11 - 2011
Lea Black

Lea Black

By:  Mary Jo Almeida-Shore

Lea Black worked the room like a “hundred thousand dollar hooker” (her words) during the animated auction at the Blacks’ Annual Gala at the Eden Roc Renaissance on Saturday night –the party of parties- which gets bigger and better every year.  While the event is technically hosted by Lea AND Roy Black – Roy admiringly introduced his wife prior to her taking the stage by admitting that he is just a “Househusband.” Who ever thought we’d see the day?  A beaming Roy looked on as Lea- stunning in a low-cut, sparkly, black Versace gown which showed off her newly trim and toned “everything” worked the room like only she can. And what a room it was…wall to wall rectangular tables covered in silk silver tablecloths, surrounded by Miami’s who’s who, enjoying a gourmet meal served family style.  Recent Celebrity Apprentice alum, Grammy Award winning artist/actress/Diva Dionne Warwick wowed the crowd with a mini-concert of her most famous songs, including “I’ll Never Love This Way Again” and “That’s What Friends Are For,” which had some guests singing along arm-in-arm.  Warwick departed abruptly, perhaps to get some beauty sleep, the reason for her firing from Celebrity Apprentice.

After dinner, guests were escorted into the Pompeii Ballroom, for the “Nightclub Experience,” where DJ Irie spun great dance music until after midnight, when Grammy Award winning singer/record producer, Pharrell took to the stage to perform and work the crowd into a frenzy. The feisty and seemingly tipsy, Brazilian wild child, Adriana de Moura joined Pharell on-stage, dancing with the rapper, and with Roy Black, who was also up there, with a  gaggle of gals.  The party showed no sign of stopping after 1 a.m. when Mr. 305, Pitbull, showed up all decked out in a tuxedo and amped things up by adding his signature “Boom Boom Boom” to crowd favorites such as “We No Speak Americano” and “Pelotero a la Bola.”  These performances were, by all accounts, worth the wait.

One of Lea’s catchphrases is “the people make the party.” This year’s “party people” were exceptional as usual: Adam Gaynor of Matchbox 20; Burn Notice’Gabrielle Anwar; Helio Castroneves, Indy 500 Champion and winner of Dancing with the Stars; Jeffrey Donovan, actor; and Lea’s Real Housewives of Miami (RHOM) co-stars, Adriana De Moura, Alexia Echeverria and Marysol Patton, whom Lea introduced before saying, “all of them bought tickets,” a not-so-subtle dig at a fellow “Housewife” who shall remain shameless nameless.

Other prominent guests included: Joe Francis, founder of Mantra Films (whose home in Mexico was auctioned to the Echevarrias for $20,000 for a one-week stay), designers Lisa and Donald Pliner, Ingrid Casares, Belkys Nerey, Frank Amadeo, Jason Binn, David Siguaw, Greg Cook, Elaine Lancaster, Jay Wall, Jilian Sanz, and Kamal Hotchandani. Business leaders and philanthropists spearheaded the fundraising including heavyweights Arthur Benjamin, Ken Gorin, Jonathan Babicka, Robert Hoff, Shareef Malnik, Patrick Bogosse and Jim Ferraro, one of the evening’s biggest contributors, who donated ten scholarships and challenged fellow guests to match his scholarship donations.

For 17 years in a row, the gala has benefitted at-risk kids through a dynamic public / private alliance with the Miami-Dade County Juvenile Services Department.  This year’s gala raised over $750, 000.   Lea summed up the gala’s success in one simple Tweet: “Party’s over! Raised a lot of $ – That’s What Friends are For.”

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