All eyes at Hamptons fundraising Celebration Charlottesville


Chris Rock, without wasting a second, took direct aim at Donald Trump’s condemnation of “bigotry and violence on several sides.”

“There’s so many!” the comedian quipped.

It was after sunset on Saturday, and Rock was linking billionaire Ron Perelman’s annual celebration in East Hampton, N.Y., to raise money for Harlem’s Apollo Theater. It’s a celebration during which other and Wall Streeters elites party with musicians and actors, some of whom grace the stage within Perelman’s barn.

Toronto anti-racism protesters denounce Charlottesville violence (The Canadian Press)

However, this time, it occurred to land hours following white supremacists and neo-Nazis descended on Charlottesville, Va., setting off deadly violence which left Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announcing a state of emergency.

Most attendees were processing.

At one point, Steve Schwarzman contested criticism of the U.S. President for not directly condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists in his response to the Charlottesville events. The Blackstone chief executive, who sits on the business advisory council of Trump, had watched some footage on tv and was struck by the chaos.

“I thought he was talking about the violence on both sides,” Schwarzman said. “I don’t believe it was a far-reaching statement{}” (The White House later told reporters in a statement that Trump condemns white supremacists and neo-Nazis.)

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein stated he formulated his opinions. “It was a terrible day,” he said. “I will tweet afterwards.”

The man standing next to him, New York State Attorney-General Eric Schneiderman, had sent a tweet, calling the violence “an affront to what this country represents.”

“Oh my God, now’s really the nadir — it is a terrible thing for America,” said Jerry Speyer, the actual estate billionaire. “Shame on all the people which were involved. What’s really awful is Republicans, Democrats and that the branches, West and East, South and North. We are better than that.”

Speyer said he is optimistic politicians will find a way to convert it.

Only after 11 p.m., former New York police commissioner Ray Kelly asked a reporter what the latest news was, worried about both Charlottesville and North Korea. “In the world we live in, every hour it could totally change,” he said.

CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, Wes Moore, called for courage. “We can never allow hatred become warranted.”

The party went on — with chicken, brisket, brownies and three hours of music.

Mavis Staples, a voice of the civil-rights age, sang Dusty Springfield’s For What It’s Worth with Jon Bon Jovi. Memphis, Tenn.-born Justin Timberlake slowed down SexyBack with help from the Roots. Gary Clark Jr., who said he knew of the Apollo as a child in Austin, Tex., jammed on guitar. For sultry, there was Alice Smith; for hippie, Citizen Cope; and for heart-stopping, Alicia Keys on Empire State of Mind. Jamie Foxx attracted John McEnroe, Robert Downey Jr. and Priyanka Chopra on stage to dance to seventies hits and his own.

About 400 guests attended, including Jimmy Buffett, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, Joseph Perella, Rashida Jones, Charles Phillips, Glenn Fuhrman, Kyle MacLachlan, Ruth Porat and Harvey Weinstein.

Some people gave up to $250,000 (U.S.), raising a total of over $5-million — a record — to help support the Apollo, including its education programs.

“You look at what happened in Virginia,” Perelman told the audience. “It’s events like this that bring us together.”

Music is an uniter, he added. “I hope you take something away which will make the world better{}”

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