The scene was straight out of the Star Wars bar Saturday night when the Blacks’ Annual Gala took over the Sparkle Ballroom at the Fontainebleau to raise money for childrens’ charities. Plenty of boldfacers attended including Courtney Love, demurely dressed in Valentino and Elaine Lancaster-brand lipstick (host Roy Black said she’s quite brilliant). We spoke briefly with the former grunge rocker-turned-actress, who told us she wasn’t sure about a future role in the final season of Sons of Anarchy as she just started a role on the Fox show Empire. Then she skipped out for a cigarette.
TV judge Karen Mills-Francis, aka Judge Karen, was also there, invited by the night’s headliner, Aretha Franklin, whom Mills-Francis met earlier that day at Carpaccio in Bal Harbour. Apparently Franklin told Mills-Francis she was a big fan of her book, Stay in Your Lane: Judge Karen’s Guide to Living Your Best Life, and sent over tickets.
We spoke briefly with hip-hop artist/producer Swizz Beatz, who sat at a table with Haute Living publisher Kamal Hotchandani. Nearby was a newly single Nick Loeb, Sofia Vergara’s ex, whose facial expressions we could not catch when host Lea Black auctioned off a walk-on role on his ex’s show Modern Family (Black, by the way, referred to her former gig The Real Housewives of Miami as a “debacle”). At some point in the auction, gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, sporting a casual short-sleeved shirt, hopped on stage, as did race car driver Helio Castroneves, who, unlike Crist, was involved in one of the auction items.
The Queen of Soul was introduced by a gracious Gloria Estefan, whose husband Emilio joined the drummer for a few songs. Franklin belted out some hits including Chain of Fools, Bridge Over Troubled Waters and her rousing cover of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep before abruptly deciding to leave the stage without finishing a few bars of Respect. An awkward conclusion by TV’s Ross Matthews, who arrived at the event late, had people scratching their heads. Why the abrupt exit? “She was just done,” said an insider. And she was. One of her handlers jumped on stage and grabbed the legend’s purse, which she stowed under the piano.
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During Franklin’s performance, Flo Rida was busy fielding fawning female fans. Rumor claims one of them was V. Stiviano, best known as Donald Sterling’s mistress. Backstage, Franklin was holding court at a meet and greet, where she went through the requisite photo ops before asking one of her assistants to grab her fur stole, which meant she was ready to roll. She said she liked Miami and was thinking of staying an extra day.
There were rumors that Oprah Winfrey, in town for The Life That You Want weekend, was going to show, but the talk show titan was busy making apologies outside Prime 112 to a woman whose foot was run over by her driver. Winfrey, supping with her best pal Gayle King, got out of her Cadillac Escalade to make sure all was well. It was. In fact, it was better than well as the woman — who was fine — seemed elated to have had a brush with the big O.
Director/producer Michael Bay was seen Friday night at Cavalli Miami.
R&B star Trey Songz was spotted on a date with a “very pretty young girl” Friday night at Seasalt and Pepper.
Model Lauren Tannehill, wife of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, was seen Saturday at Young at Art Museum giving tips to the teen designers and models preparing for the Ninth Annual Teen Recycled Fashion Show: Decades Restyled! at the museum on Nov. 14.