MacDella Cooper Foundation hosts United Against Ebola benefit
The Macdella Cooper Foundation’s United Against Ebola benefit could be summed up in a single word: honest. Held at the Landmark on the Park, one of New York’s lovely pre-war churches, it was decorated only with black tablecloths and white tea lights. The minimal environment was brought to life with native Liberian music and the buzz of attendees eager to solve the problem of Ebola.
Macdella Cooper herself has been a longtime advocate for solving health and education problems in Liberia. She works toward giving as many children as possible the opportunity of attending her Macdella Cooper Foundation Academy. Through the school, she hopes that if a large generation of kids become educated, they can lead Liberia to a “stronger economy and stable political future”.
Cooper began the evening addressing everyone, and pointed out that, despite the reduction of media coverage, “there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done.” Her special involvement with Liberian and West African children has brought another urgency to her attention when she noted “Ebola has created several orphans.” Cooper thanked several of her contributors, fashion designers Donna Karan and Bonnie Young among them, before beginning the night’s festivities.
The benefit’s stars were both Grey’s Anatomy’s Isaiah Washington (Master of Ceremonies) and five-time American Music Award winner Zelma Davis. Washington was equal parts smooth-talking and passionate. He ran the live auction with fiery persuasion and collected well over $15,000. This continued into the eveningwear fashion show, when he momentarily free-style rapped along with the music. Zelma Davis brought an even fiercer vocal presence in frequent performances throughout the event. Her first song You Raise Me Up she dedicated to the doctors and other aid workers in Africa, who had passed away. Her following songs were far less somber, even indulging in recent hits like Rihanna’s Only Girl In the World.
A host and contributor to the evening’s cause was fashion designer Bonnie Young. There were two different fashion shows during the benefit: one for childrenswear, by Young, the other for eveningwear, by Runway winner Irina Shabayeva. The kids in her first show stole everyone’s hearts as they sashayed down the center aisle in whimsical creations, all accentuated by bare feet and a single daisy-flower anklet. Young prefaced this show explaining the bare feet represented the Liberian children who need help. The daisy anklets were also for sale, each selling for $10, which would be used to feed kids in West Africa. The eveningwear show was a little less rooted in the event’s cause, but nonetheless stunning. Young played with the daisy image and replicated petal like skirts and a variety of textures through lace, feathers, and flowers themselves.
Overall the night was effective in bringing attention to Ebola. Macdella Cooper and the various hosts were adamant about solving the crisis, and used this urgency to underscore each activity.
For further information about the Macdella Cooper Foundation or to contribute to the cause visit here.