Songs of Hope x RWQuarantunes
The virtual celebration, presented by Facebook, raised over $780,000 to support City of Hope’s mission to eliminate cancer and diabetes. The event featured musical performances by Duran Duran, Jac Ross and Rob Thomas, with appearances from special guests Jimmy Jam, Benny Blanco, Aloe Blacc, The-Dream, Carole Bayer Sager, Diane Warren, Jennifer Holliday, Desmond Child, Todd Phillips, Deborah Cox and more.
During the event, RWQuarantunes founders Richard and Demi Weitz welcomed guests and were joined by event co-chair Evan Lamberg and emcee Jimmy Jam. City of Hope’s Sheri Biller spoke about the organization’s innovative Department of Supportive Care Medicine, which is committed to delivering the institution’s signature compassionate, specialized cancer care to patients and their families. Surprise guests Duran Duran started the evening on a high note, with a special video message from John Taylor and Simon Le Bon, followed by a performance. Ryan Press introduced the first award of the night, Warner Chappell’s “Voice of Hope” Award, presented posthumously in honor of the late hip-hop rapper Pop Smoke. Singer-songwriter and record producer The-Dream recorded a message about the late musical artist for guests before Pop Smoke’s mother, Audrey Jackson, accepted the award on his behalf. Jackson was joined by Billboard’s Gail Mitchell for a moving conversation about her son’s life and legacy.
Next, Clive Davis presented Smokey Robinson with the Clive Davis “Legend in Songwriting” Award before the event co-chairs surprised Davis by presenting him with an award of his own, the “Songs of Hope Heroes” Award, which Davis graciously accepted. Event co-chair Evan Lamberg emphasized Davis’ contributions throughout the years, describing him as the “bedrock and cornerstone” of Songs of Hope. Aloe Blacc made a surprise appearance after Smokey’s award, singing “He’s the man, he’s the man, he’s the man” to the music icon, in a nod to Blacc’s hit song “The Man,” while singer Jac Ross thrilled guests with a soulful rendition of “My Girl.” Later in the evening, Matchbox Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas wowed the crowd with his acoustic take on “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” before accepting song requests from guests in exchange for donations to City of Hope. Facebook’s Zeina Grenier and Alexa Cabellon were joined by surprise guest Benny Blanco to present the Facebook “Songwriter Impact” Award to Gracie Abrams and Blake Slatkin, who also performed at the virtual event. Songs of Hope co-chair Steve Schnur honored Hildur Guðnadóttir with the EA Music “Composer of the Year” Award, after sharing a video message from “Joker” director Todd Phillips. Daniel Nigro received the Sony Music Publishing “Creative Trailblazer” Award from Sony’s Nick Bral and Jennifer Knoepfle, who highlighted his many accomplishments, including his recent work on Olivia Rodrigo’s hit album, “Sour.”
Loretta Erhunmwunsee, M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Thoracic Surgery at City of Hope, received the “Beverly and Ben Horowitz Legacy” Award, named after the longtime CEO and first lady of City of Hope. Under Horowitz’s leadership, City of Hope was transformed from a small hospital that was focused on tuberculosis into a world leader in the research and treatment of cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. The Horowitz legacy is carried on by their son, Zach Horowitz, former chair, current member and major gifts chair of the Music, Film and Entertainment Industry Executive Board, their daughter, Jody Horowitz-Marsh, who is past chair and currently sits on the board of Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, and their granddaughter, Zoey Marsh, a founding member of City of Hope’s Junior Board. Together, they presented Erhunmwunsee with the award. Erhunmwunsee’s research seeks to eliminate health inequities among minority and under-resourced populations through City of Hope’s Division of Health Equities. A portion of the proceeds from the event will support her ongoing projects. Jody Gerson, Universal Music Publishing Group chairman/CEO and co-founder of She Is The Music, presented the evening’s final award to Brandi Carlile, who also performed. Carlile was recognized with the “She Is The Music” Award for her contributions to the music industry as a singer, songwriter, musician and producer, and for her impact on culture. Co-chairs of the event included Doug Davis (The Davis Firm), Evan Lamberg (president, North America/Universal Music Publishing Group), David Renzer, and Steve Schnur (worldwide executive and president, Music for Electronic Arts).