Friday, May 24, 2019

POWER MOVES

Anthony Anderson, Pedro Capo, Snoop Dogg, Leona Lewis, and Lionel Richie performing (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive)

POWER MOVES

Celebrities come out in full force as Lionel Richie is honored at the annual Power of Love gala. 

Musical legends and Hollywood luminaries recently gathered at the MGM Garden Arena for Keep Memory Alive’s 23rd Annual Power of Love gala, benefiting the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Lionel Richie was the top honoree, as Shania Twain, Snoop Dogg, Anthony Anderson, Ne-Yo, Anthony Mackie, Miguel, Leona Lewis, Raiders owner Mark Davis (newly-minted as a Keep Memory Alive board member) and many more attended to pay tribute while raising both awareness and funds.

After a warm welcome from Keep Memory Alive co-founders Larry and Camille Ruvo, the evening began with a special Caregiver Hero Award presented to Lonnie Ali, widow of the late, great Muhammad Ali’s wife. She noted that she was pleasantly surprised to learn she was receiving this award because it was the first time she’d been honored not just as Muhammad Ali’s wife, but as his care partner and caregiver.

Lionel Richie (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive)

Musical artist Shania Twain presented Richie with an award in honor of his musical excellence and support of “Keep Memory Alive. “He’s my buddy, my pal, he’s a lifesaver and a really wonderful friend,” Twain said in heartfelt remarks about Richie. “I’m happy to be here for Lionel. I have a personal interest in the cause because my grandmother had Alzheimer’s. It’s a very devastating disease and we just need more awareness.”

Said Richie: “What you all are doing tonight is helping mankind and actually making a difference in the world. I’m so proud to be here tonight to share this award.”

Songstress Leona Lewis and Miguel honored Richie with a powerful rendition of “Endless Love,” while Ne-Yo was joined by Bernie Williams for a duet of “Easy.” And the crowd rose to their feet as Ne-Yo and Snoop Dogg performed “Brick House.” Then, Richie brought down the house with his hits “Hello” and “Dancing on the Ceiling,” followed by all of the evening’s performers joining him for “All Night Long.” We spoke to Ritchie and other gala star attendees about brain health and the black community, Las Vegas and why the Power of Love gala means so much.

What advice would you want to give black people as it relates to brain health and our traditional diet?

Camille and Larry Ruvo

Richie: I grew up in Tuskegee, Alabama. You hear these words all the time: “Baby, sit down — you look too thin. Let me feed you.” Then I went to Los Angeles and I learned that half of what I was eating at home can kill you. So when I would go back to Tuskegee and visit my friends and family, I would tell them, “You shouldn’t use so much butter.” They would look at me and think I wasn’t a well person and was affected by the Hollywood lifestyle. The truth is, diet is everything and we have to remember to eat and drink in moderation. But I get it — eating is a part of our heritage. That’s our problem. So, usually if we say something is “good,” it is really bad for us. Most of the things in our soul food diet that makes our dishes taste good is killing us. In my case, I eat everything in moderation. I have good southern cooking in my home, but not every night.

Why is tonight so important to you?

Ne-Yo: It is very important to stand behind people who are doing something like the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. They are doing amazing work, and I’m happy to be here for the special honor for Lionel Richie. He’s one of my mentors, and somebody who made it possible for me to be me. Really happy about performing some of his songs and being here for a great cause.

How will the community benefit from the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas — off the football field?

Anthony Anderson and Anthony Mackie
(Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive)

Mark Davis: We are excited about coming to Las Vegas — and not only is the community getting a football team, but it’s getting players and coaches that will be reaching out into the community to touch the lives of our children with special camps and engaging activities. It’s all about the children.

Anthony Anderson what prompted you to be at this year’s “Keeping Memory Alive Gala?”

Anthony Anderson: Yes, this is my first year coming to the gala — but I feel it is very important. Every 66 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I was also asked to bring Lionel Richie on the stage tonight for his honor. We’ve known each other over the years, and I am so honored to be here with him for his recognition. I have had friends and family who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and I have always been an advocate to help find a cure. I was also on the show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” a few years ago — and I won a quarter of a million dollars for my charity that helps people with Alzheimer’s. I was excited about that, and I am excited about The Power of Love gala.

Miguel and his wife Nazanin Mandi. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive)

You look wonderful and you lost a lot of weight. What role do you think diet plays in brain health?

Anthony Anderson: I am pretty sure diet has a connection to brain health. I think diet has a connection to good health. My wife is a vegetarian, but I still eat meat.

How do you like Las Vegas?

Anthony Anderson: Las Vegas used to be our playground. We are excited to be here, and it brings back so many memories — because we got married in Vegas. So we love to visit for wonderful events such as the Power of Love gala.

Ne-Yo singing to the crowd. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive)

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