By Josh Feldman
There was no shortage of divas at Club Nokia on Saturday evening, when Sheryl Lee Ralph (AKA Moesha’s mom) hosted the 22nd annual “Divas Simply Singing” event, for her charity, the Diva foundation (www.thedivafoundation.org). The atmosphere inside the club was jazzy but intimate, and the club’s powerful sound system - designed with live entertainment in mind - was the perfect place for the line-up that Ralph put together.
Michael Jackson’s “Do You Remember?” pumped up the crowd pre-show before well-known drag queen and friend of Cheryl, Elaine came onstage to give the crowd some laughs. She reminded everyone to turn off their electronic devices before telling the first performer, legendary Jenifer Lewis, that she could keep her hearing aid on. Oscar nominee Angela Bassett came onstage and made a little speech (what’d she talk about?)
Celebrities who walked the red carpet included Malcolm Jamal Warner (who also did a comedy routine onstage), Tristan Wilds, Monifa, Daryl Stephens, and Wilson Cruz. Inside, everyone enjoyed performances from Prince Poppycock, Nikki Gilbert, Kiki Wyatt, Angela Wynnbush, and Kristinia DeBarge,who brought the house down with her uncle, E.L. as they sang “Rhythm of the Night”. DeBarge felt very honored to be chosen as a diva, and said it gave her confidence.
Another great performer was Jamar Rogers, from The Voice, who sang a stirring song about his positive status. The teenage Hill sisters did a beautiful rendition of Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All.” Faith Evans closed the show with a pair of songs that brought her (and the crowd) to tears.
The timing couldn’t have been better for the event, which took place on World AIDS day. Money was raised, awareness was spread, and everyone was treated to wonderful DIVA behavior.