Art for Life Benefit Raises Funds for Youths

From Mariah Carey to Grant Hill, celebs supported art at Russell Simmons' annual Hamptons affair.

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Johnny Nunez/WireImage

(The Root) — It turns out, the couple that doesn’t stay together actually plays together very well. Russell Simmons — along with his former wife, and honorary chair of the event, Kimora Lee and the music honcho’s brother Danny — presented a star-studded Art for Life fundraiser on Saturday, July 28, to support the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation.

The charity exposes inner-city youths to the arts and provides exhibition opportunities to some underrepresented artists of color. The event raised more than $2 million while honoring the philanthropic efforts of celebrity couples including Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon and Tamia and Grant Hill, as well as corporate givers such as the Bancorp Inc. CEO Betsy Z. Cohen and Sun Capital Partners Inc. co-CEO Marc J. Leder.

The affair was the 13th annual fundraiser that Simmons has held at his East Hampton, N.Y., home. Every year an enormous white tent is set up on his lawn, and with the rain, it definitely came in handy this year. But the weather did not dampen the event, although it may have affected some hairdos.

“If I had known it was going to rain the way it did, I would have sold more tables,” Simmons told The Root. As it was, more than 800 people came out for the $1,500-per-ticket event, a turnout that the music mogul said was possible because of “good music, pretty girls and rich men … and rich women.”

One of the richest women there may have been honoree Carey, who just signed an $18 million deal to replace Jennifer Lopez as a judge on American Idol. “There is nothing like it for me to be able to do what I love for a living, and to be able to give back is one of the greatest gifts that I can imagine,” Carey said after being recognized for her philanthropy.

Her hubby brought the comedy. “I should get an award for getting my wife here on time,” he said. After thanking the organization for the award, Cannon also plugged his show, America’s Got Talent.

They were not the only two people with talent shows at the event. The X Factor judge L.A. Reid and his former producer partner Babyface made an appearance. While not plugging his show, Reid did plug the charity and the Hamptons, where the record exec-turned-TV commentator also owns a summer home. “When the Almighty Creator created the planet Earth, he picked some designated spots that were just enchanted,” he said. “This is one of them.”

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