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2004: Jalen Helps VH1 Save the Music

June 24, 2008

VH1_web21.JPGJuly 23, 2004 – Ashanti, Celebs Party to Save the Music… Women gladly
traded their heels for flip-flops at a VH1 Save the Music Foundation
benefit, mostly for comfort but also for a good cause. Music and
Mojitos, an exclusive backyard affair, was held Friday night at the
hilly Hamptons home of foundation board member Morris Reed and his
wife, Jaci Wilson Reid. Attendees were able to check their predictably
uncomfortable shoes at the door for a pair of flip-flops adorned with a
bulls-eye (courtesy of event co-sponsor Target).

Host and charity diva Jaci Wilson Reid said she just wanted to make
"people feel more comfortable." But guest of honor Ashanti opted to
keep her strappy silver Manolo Blahniks on her feet throughout the
night. "It’s quite dangerous," Ashanti said of schlepping down the hill
to the stage and back up to the Reids’ house, where she stayed hidden
for most of the evening while guests outside drowned themselves in
champagne and noshed on crab cakes.

When Ashanti, wearing a glittering Dior gown, did teeter out to greet
the crowd, she extolled the virtues of music in education, which is
Save the Music’s raison d’etre. "It’s kind of whack that they’re trying
to take away instruments from our children," Ashanti told the crowd.

Whack indeed. Inside the Reids’ home, Ashanti gushed to The Associated
Press about her upcoming third album, due out in November. The
23-year-old wouldn’t divulge potential collaborations, but she did
promise an "amazing, totally different" album complete with some "club
bangers," a departure for the soft-spoken crooner.

"I would love to have a sixth-grade band on one of my tracks," Ashanti
noted. The event was scant on celebs. Star Jones, Ja Rule, Johnny
Knoxville and Jason Lewis were a few of the no-shows. However, Russell
Simmons, Jalen Rose of the Toronto Raptors and a Hilary Duff
look-and-sound-alike called Angel were present.

Sting appeared as well — in the form of an autograph. A guitar signed
by the former Police leader sold for $20,000 to a generous blonde in
the crowd. Cause-savvy VH1 President Christina Norman, fresh from the
International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, excitedly chatted
about the channel’s new AIDS awareness campaign, the first issue VH1
has supported since Save the Music began in 1997.

"Our viewers are the type of people who were politically active about
issues in the past," Norman said, "but now is the perfect time to
remind them about the most important medical issue in our world." The
evening ended with the distribution of jelly purse gift bags, filled
with goodies like Bacardi Limon and mojito-flavored lip gloss, and an
afterparty at Resort, an East Hampton enclave down the road.

Before departing down the hill, attendees were given back their pricey
heels in a green gift bag –but they could keep the flip-flops.

By DERRIK J. LANG – Associated Press Writer

Jalen Rose, a future New York Knick?

July 2004 – The hoopster, during his first trip to the Hamptons on
Friday, confided to Diary that he can see himself playing in front of
celebrity row for the Big Apple team.

"As long as I continue to play, anything can happen," said the Toronto
Raptor, who grew up in Detroit and began a friendship with Knicks
president of basketball operations Isiah Thomas as a youngster.

"I wouldn’t want to piss off Toronto," he said. But "who doesn’t like warming up in Madison Square Garden?"

Rose was taking in the VH1 Save The Music Foundation benefit at the
home of Morris and Jaci Reid, along with the likes of Ashanti and
Russell Simmons, where hundreds donated money so young children have an
opportunity to learn music in their budget-crunched schools.

Before Rose jumped into organized basketball in the sixth grade, he was
playing trombone in the fourth and fifth grades . . . badly.

"I was hoping the teacher was going to pick me to play drums or
clarinet – because that was the way to get girls," Rose said. "But I
got picked to play the trombone."

Hamptons Diary – New York Post Online Edition