On October 23, 2007, the Heineken Red Star Soul Tour made its final stop at Spotlight Live in New York City to present Ralph McDaniels with the Heineken Independent Achiever Award. Though the night honored McDaniels, the New York-based founder of Video Music Box and a pioneer in premiering hip-hop videos on his television program, there was a packed house awaiting the stage performances of MBK artist Jermaine Paul and J Records’ own Emily King and Alicia Keys.
Describing Alicia’s ascend “…from Timberland’s to Gucci shoes,”Â Jeff Robinson, her manager, introduced the nine-time Grammy winner on stage. Wearing a stylish grey top and silver pants, Alicia gave the anxious audience a taste of her new album, As I Am, with heartfelt performances of songs both old and new. Keys dedicated the anthem “Superwoman”Â to all the “…sisters, daughters, and, especially, the mothers”Â in the receptive crowd. Her own mother, Teresa Augello, was among the onlookers, rocking out to her daughter’s tunes with “A Woman’s Worth”Â co-writer (and soul artist), Erika Rose.
Surprises included Fantasia, who rocked out like a regular ol’ fan. Also making an informal guest appearance on stage was Kerry “Krucial”Â Brothers. He stood on stage during Keys’ finale, her infectious single, “No One.”Â This performance was a definite crowd pleaser as Keys sang, bathed in sweat, to the crowd’s sing-along.
Among a night of performances and awards, the evening certainly belonged to Ralph McDaniels, a hip-hop pioneer, and Alicia Keys, a modern musical legend.