Last night, The Gordon Parks Foundation celebrated its 10th anniversary with a star-studded benefit at Cipriani 42nd Street. Per tradition, Swizz Beatz hosted the evening, which brought out Usher, Gayle King, Constance Jablonski, Martha Hunt, Hillary Rhoda, Prabal Gurung, Victor Cruz (who wore Public School), Chanel Iman, and more. Public School and DKNY creative directors Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne were honorees at the sit-down dinner, and were introduced by pal Alexander Soros.
“It feels great to be honored. Alexander is a good friend of mine, but it feels like an honor just because of what Gordon Parks has done with his art and breaking down boundaries beyond words,” Osborne told us while walking the red carpet with his mom. “The fact that art can be a medium to do something so impactful is just a blessing. Tonight is really about the future and the leaders we’re trying to raise.” Osborne and Chow have been involved with the organization for the past three years.
Other honorees included photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier, introduced by Leslie Parks; musical recording artist and actress Janelle Monáe, introduced by Swizz; founder of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson, introduced by Elizabeth Alexander; and Leonard Lauder, who was dubbed the “Lipstick King” along with wife Judy Glickman. The couple was celebrating more than their one year and four month anniversary (to be exact)—they were there to receive the 3rd Annual Gordon Parks Patron of the Arts Award, presented by Thomas P. Campbell. “It’s an honor to be honored by The Gordon Parks Foundation. My wife has been very involved with them and I love to follow my wife! She’s the heroine in this whole thing,” Mr. Lauder told us, pre-acceptance speech. “I’m a photographer and collect photography, and I’ve been coming to the Gordon Parks Foundation dinners for quite a while, and own quite a few of Gordon’s works. He’s a hero,” added Glickman.
The evening’s co-chairs were an impressive group, including Nejma and Peter Beard, Alicia Keys, Karl Lagerfeld, Soros, Usher IV and Grace Raymond, Swizz Beatz and special guest Kathleen Cleaver, former Black Panther Leader who was photographed by Gordon Parks in 1970. “Last night was a true testament to the legacy of Mr. Parks and his long-lasting impact on the art world and the next generation of artists,” said Peter Kunhardt Jr., executive director of The Gordon Parks Foundation. And the live auction certainly proved that, as attendees bid high-dollar prices on some of Parks’ most coveted works. Guests could also bid on seats to Lagerfeld’s Chanel fashion show in Paris this coming October and a tour of Coco Chanel’s apartment.
The evening commenced with a special musical performance by Jon Batiste and Stay Human. The Gordon Parks Foundation is dedicated to preserving the work and legacy of Gordon Parks and other photographers, filmmakers, and artists.
Photos: Joe Schildhorn/BFA.com, Patrick McMullan