Several of Republic Records’ biggest and brightest, including the Weeknd, Billy Porter and John Legend, celebrated honorees Monte and Avery Lipman at the City of Hope Spirit of Life Gala on Thursday night in West Hollywood.
Artists hit the Pacific Design Center, which was painted in hues of blue and purple for the night, to pay tribute to the Republic Records founders for their overall contribution in funding cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS research through their work with City of Hope.
But the magic of the evening, according to City of Hope’s Chief Philanthropy Officer Kristin Bertell, was the union of music industry executives, who joined together for an honorable cause: finding a cure for cancer.
“City of Hope is the music industry’s charity and for 49 years, this group has been raising money for our mission,” Bertell said. “All these icons of the music industry, they really put down their business competitiveness, and it’s all about beating cancer.”
The night featured performances from Jack Johnson; Porter, who hosted the event and sang his upcoming single “Audacity”; and new Republic Records signee Sekou, who delivered a deeply soulful rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.”
But despite the night’s events being foreshadowed with certain clues (which included a “Succession”-themed filmed skit from the brothers featuring cameos from Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers), the room was still caught by surprise to see the Jonas Brothers take the stage and perform their songs “Leave Before You Love Me” and “Sucker.”
Porter, who wore a black sequin suit with a pair of black-rimmed glasses, opened the night by singling out Universal Music Publishing Group Chairman and CEO Jody Gerson, and Republic Records Co-Presidents Wendy Goldstein and Jim Roppo. Each told the audience about their relationship with the Lipman brothers. UMG Executive Vice President Michele Anthony held her story for her speech, when she presented Monte and Avery Lipman with the Spirit of Life Award.
“Monte and Avery are leaders who are kind, caring, smart, supportive, passionate and philanthropic. If you work for Republic, you’re part of their family forever,” Anthony said. “But whether you work at Republic or not, if someone is going through a difficult time or facing an illness, Monte and Avery are there. Countless times I’ve witnessed their compassion, love and generosity. … For all of these reasons, Monte and Avery, you exemplify the Spirit of Life.”
After pledging a $100,000 donation with his brother to City of Hope during the auction, Avery Lipman took the microphone. “It’s not lost on either one of us what it means to be given the privilege and the honor to help City of Hope. And how truly thankful [we are] of the partnership and support we have had along the way to get us here tonight,” he said.
Monte Lipman addressed the crowd next, telling the audience about his own battle with cancer.
“What started out as routine trip to the doctor’s eight years ago, escalated into a full-blown medical emergency that changed my life forever. For those of you in this category, you understand the crippling fear and anxiety you experienced during those dark moments,” said Monte Lipman. “I’ve always been sympathetic and responsive to cancer-fighting initiatives, but until you go through the fire yourself, you don’t really understand the gravitas of the emotional distress, which becomes all-consuming. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep and you can barely breathe.”
The personal experience ultimately changed the way the music executive looked at cancer care and support, he said.
“I learned human connection remains the most powerful antidote to manage your emotions and spirit into people,” added Monte Lipman.
“For Avery and I, being recognized as someone who can help make a difference in the fight against cancer is truly an honor. Most importantly, our true inspiration remains focused on City of Hope’s extraordinary doctors, scientists, caregivers, counselors and, of course, those families in need of our resources, support and kindness,” he closed.
Originally published at variety.com