Stars, filmmakers, and philanthropists strolled down an appropriately green carpet and gathered in a vast hangar at Santa Monica airport for this year’s Environmental Media Association awards on Saturday night. Among the honorees at the ceremony, which recognizes both individuals and corporations who have demonstrated a commitment to protect the environment through their work, were Natalie Portman, Russell Simmons, John Paul DeJoria and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the White House’s current attitude towards climate change, the mood was mainly one of defiance, with EMA CEO Debbie Levin making everyone promise to fulfill the nation’s end of the Paris Agreement bargain in her opening speech, regardless of the president’s plans to reject the accord.
Prior to the awards banquet, the evening’s host, Jaden Smith, arrived with green hair to match the carpet and posed with sister, Willow Smith, while a seemingly endless stream of two-seater planes took off into the sunset from a runway just behind.
Meanwhile, near the tequila bar in the centre of the hangar, news commentator Van Jones took selfies with Simmons. Just then, an announcer revealed that one of the prizes at the auction booth was a yoga lesson with Simmons, who pretended to be shocked by the announcement.
Later it was revealed that Jones had prepared a long-winded introduction for Simmons before his missions in music award, forcing the hip-hop mogul to sit on the steps and wait right in front of will.i.am who happened to be seated at the very first table.
“I love my brother, but he’s long-winded as f—,” Simmons joked as he got to the stage.
The Def Jam Recordings co-founder went on to encourage the audience to open their eyes and react to the pollution that the animal industry causes.
“A lot of environmentalists say we don’t want to bring the food we eat into our discussion, but we have to,” Simmons said. “The number one cause of global warming is the animals you eat. As activists you are conscious beings and you have to wake up and be more conscious.”