Stevie Wonder serenaded a crowd of industryites, do-gooders and goodie-bag-grabbers at Global Green’s 13th annual pre-Oscar benefit dinner at Mr. C’s Hotel in Beverly Hills on Wednesday night, and was rewarded with a surprise of his own.
Taking the stage with an event-appropriate new song titled “The Living Killing Life” – sample lyric: “Things you are hearing about global warming are not some fallacies” – Wonder segued into a rapid-fire half hour of his biggest hits backed by a two-piece band, from early career singles “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” and “My Cherie Amour” to “Innervisions”-era “Living for the City” and “Higher Ground,” to his 1984 Oscar winner “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” in which he sang “Global Green” in place of “first of spring.”
After a set-closing jam on “Superstition,” Wonder was joined by his children, who presented him with the org’s Global Green Hero Award, prompting a brief speech in which Wonder urged “the young people of the new generation to value our planet everywhere they go.”
Wonder was preceded by a short set from newcomer Charlie Puth, but the crux of the evening saw recognition for Global Green’s year-round initiatives, as well as an auction lead by org board member and event co-founder Sebastian Copeland. (Between the auction and texted donations from attendees, the night raised more than $70,000.)
The World Bank and the United Nations Foundation were both presented with the org’s Partner Award, and several educators and elementary school students were recognized as Global Green Champions for their participation in the Seed to Table school gardening initiative. Soledad O’Brien served as the evening’s emcee, and green-minded guests Paula Abdul, Ed O’Neil, Emily Ratajkowski, Heather McDonald, Justin Baldoni, Josh Radnor and Maggie Grace also showed support.