Rave: Hope Rising! Benefit Concert

The evening might have started off with a bit of rain, but the Sony Centre boasted a cheerful full house for the Hope Rising! concert, in support of our amazing client, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, this past Tuesday.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation brought together a sparkling line up of A-list performers, including Alicia Keys, K’naan, Rufus Wainwright, Angélique Kidjo, Jully Black, Holly Cole and Gloria Reuben. Harry Belafonte co-hosted a VIP roundtable dinner and discussion earlier in the evening, along with Stephen Lewis.

One of our fave moments came earlier in the day, while we were waiting for a few people to arrive at a hotel to participate in a few interviews. Angélique Kidjo walked into the lobby, bursting with personality and energy. The African grandmothers arrived soon after, and upon seeing Angélique, hugs, excited greetings and an impromptu dance-off started. It was loud, warm and genuine, and was a glimpse into what was to come later that night.  

Angélique Kidjo. Credit: Alexi Hay

Some of the best performances of the night came from the same African grandmothers who flew in especially for the event, and d’bi Young and Ngozi Paul. They helped bring some of the true flavours of Africa to the event.

Emcees Gloria Reuben, Marci Ien and Jian Ghomeshi did a fabulous job at keeping all 3,200 people at the Sony Centre entertained between performances.

One of the most rousing and touching speeches of the evening came from Stephen Lewis himself. His legendary eloquence and fine balance of humour and seriousness was perfect to introduce Alicia Keys, and remind everyone why they were there and how we can all help make a difference.

 Legendary singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte at Hope Rising!.

Alicia Keys, K’naan, Angélique Kidjo, Rufus Wainwright, Gloria Reuben, Jully Black and Holly Cole all acknowledged, in their own way, the tragedy that the HIV/AIDS pandemic has brought to the people in Africa and how charities like the Stephen Lewis Foundation are helping improve the lives of thousands of people. 

Alicia Keys belts out a hit at the piano during Hope Rising!.  
We’re so happy to have been a part of this event. We love that we got to share in a thrilling evening of raising awareness for a meaningful cause like this. 

All photos courtesy of Cameron MacLennan, unless otherwise noted. 

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