Whoopi Goldberg’s journey to become one of the most successful performers in the world was not done alone, but rather with the support of art world donors.
While hosting Lincoln Center Corporate Fund’s An Evening Honoring Coach gala on Thursday in New York City, she said, “Now I am to ad-lib about the power of the arts to transform and effect positive change. Why ad-lib it? You are looking at it. When people give money to the arts, when you give money to the arts, like it or not, I’m one of those things that gets produced.”
The audience with the likes of Tommy and Dee Hilfiger, Hearst president and CEO Steve Swartz, Alina Cho and “Pose” stars Dominique Jackson and Ryan Jamaal Swain burst out in applause as they rallied her sentiments.
“We should be celebrating because the arts will make you smile,” Goldberg said. “When you hear a little kid opera singer, your teeth are showing because it is spectacular. Because you think to yourself, ‘Wow, you studied opera.’ Most of us we think about opera when we pass an opera house, but we don’t really spend a lot of time with it. But, for some folks this is their life. For kids this is their life… You are giving them the power to do this. As the recipient of those monies many years ago, like many years ago, thank you for those opportunities.”
The annual affair paid tribute to the art community, as well as Coach’s creative director Stuart Vevers, who was honored with the Women’s Leadership Award.
Glenda Bailey, editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar and co-chair of the gala, praised the designer from the stage in between numbers by New York City local performers BKSteppers, the House of Gorgeous, and D.J. Vjuan Allure.
“The thing that inspires me the most is people. The people you see on the street. The people you have conversations with. That is the most special thing for me,” Vevers said, toasting the Big Apple. “What a better place to get inspiration? New York is the coolest city in the world!”
Musician Chaka Khan closed out the ceremony with an electrifying set of “I’m Every Woman” and “Ain’t Nobody.” The House of Gorgeous came out and surrounded Whoopi Goldberg in a glittery ballroom dance as she thanked the gala guests for attending.