Amy Winehouse Foundation to hold first U.S. gala

By Sarah Weiss

Bluesy British singer Amy Winehouse catapulted to the top of the charts with her 2006 sophomore album, “Back to Black.” It swept the Grammys, earning her five awards–tying the record for most wins for a female artist in a single night. Her influence on soul music and female musicians was indelible. However, as Winehouse’s career skyrocketed, her struggles with drugs and alcohol addiction became more apparent. The songstress was found dead in her London home from alcohol poisoning in July 2011. She was 27.

Throughout her life, Winehouse donated time and money to charities that helped children and the homeless. The Amy Winehouse Foundation  (AWF) has since been established to honor her memory and continue her passion for helping children and others in need. On March 21, the Foundation will hold its first Inspiration Awards & Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.

Says Mitch Winehouse, Amy’s father, “There’s another part to her character and persona very few people knew about, and that was her gentleness and warm heartedness.”

The AWF will honor singer Tony Bennett with the Inspiration Award for Lifetime Achievement. Bennett recorded the single, “Body and Soul,” with Winehouse shortly before her passing. Other honorees include Nas, Elhadj “Moe” Kane, and SaLaAM ReMi, who were inspirations to Winehouse and collaborated with her musically.

Winehouse’s posthumous album, “Lioness: Hidden Treasures,” was produced by SaLaAM ReMi and contains the single she recorded with Bennett as well as a featured duet with Nas called “Like Smoke.” For every “Lioness” album purchased, $1.50 will be donated to the AWF. Click here to get the album.

The black tie, red-carpet event will feature performances by Grammy-winning artists incluing Jennifer Hudson and Wyclef Jean, with more celebrities and musical guests performances to be announced.

The AWF supplies funding to music-education programs as well as drug rehabilitation and prevention tools to those in need. In the U.S. the AWF has donated thousands of dollars to the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO)  and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. All money raised from this year’s inaugural Inspiration Awards & Gala will support stateside programs.

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