Prince Celebrated at Education Nonprofit's Gala Event Hosted by Anthony Anderson
Founded by the late iconic artist's former wife Manuela Testolini, the In a Perfect World foundation aimed to celebrate the completion of its 30th school in Malawi and honor Prince for the legacy beyond his music.
From strobing stage lights to floral center pieces, an all-surrounding hue of purple welcomed and brought together stars and celebrities from the worlds of sports, music, Hollywood and more on Sunday to laud the late iconic artist Prince.
The soft violets and purples splashing the walls of the Jeremy West Hollywood's Great Room paid homage to the night's Ambassador of Change honoree and music icon who died in April 2016.
The In a Perfect World Foundation, founded by Prince's former wife Manuela Testolini, aimed to celebrate the completion of its 30th school in Malawi and honor the performer for his legacy beyond his music.
Testolini told The Hollywood Reporter that with all the feats and schools built since the foundation's start in 2005, she felt it was necessary to recognize the musician for all the support he's given to the foundation before his passing.
"When I started In A Perfect World, Prince was our most ardent supporter, and I wanted to take a step back and recognize that," said Testolini. "It's all come full circle in a beautiful, natural, organic way.
Black-ish star and executive producer Anthony Anderson took center stage as the fundraiser's host. Anderson told THR he wanted to host the event because he has personal ties with both the foundation and the night's honoree.
"There's so many things that Prince did that we as a public will never know," the actor said of Prince's philanthropic work, such as providing families in need with funeral services for their loved ones who passed away.
"That's the great thing about someone like Prince. He didn't do it for fame. He did it because that's what he believed in and that's what he wanted to do," Anderson said. "He didn't need to have a press conference to let the world know what he was doing — that's not what it was about."
The evening featured musical performances honoring Prince and an exciting live auction, as Anderson cracked jokes throughout the entirety of the program. During the live auction, he pointed out familiar faces in the crowd, like Earvin "Magic" Johnson, and encouraged them to donate to the foundation's cause. The money raised will go toward the foundation's mission of building more schools both nationally and internationally.
After raising more than $372,000, the event featured a series of performances by talent including Andra Day, Judith Hill and more who sang covers of Prince's songs like "I Wanna Be Your Lover," "Saturday Night" and "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?"
Anderson came back to the stage — at first fooling around on the band's piano — but soon his noodling turned into a full-blown rendition of "Love Me Down."
After the lineup of standing ovation-receiving performances, Earth, Wind and Fire's Verdine White presented the night's Ambassador of Change award, which was accepted by André Cymone, who received the honor on behalf of Prince, his close friend and collaborator.
The night ended with the band playing more songs by the legendary "Purple Rain" singer as those in attendance danced to the pulsating beats.