Akon, Kat DeLuna, Connor Paolo, Katrina Bowden, and Ryan Leslie
6.9.2009

Akon, Kid Cudi, & Kat DeLuna Go to Prom

Akon, Kat DeLuna, Connor Paolo, Katrina Bowden, and Ryan Leslie

Prom memories are similar to the use of Auto-Tune or the word swag; you either love ’em or hate ’em. For seniors at New York City’s High School of Fashion Industries, their prom was a celebratory night, never to be forgotten. Last Friday at Chelsea Piers, Hearst Magazines, MyPromStyle.com, and Universal Motown teamed up for the Ultimate Prom 2009, a star-studded event featuring high-energy performances by Ryan Leslie, Kid Cudi, and Kat DeLuna, who wore a student’s winning prom dress design.

O'Neal McKnight

O'Neal McKnight

Connor Paolo (“Gossip Girl”) and Katrina Bowden (“30 Rock”) shared hosting duties during the night’s festivities. Although Akon only made a brief appearance to hype the crowd of partygoers, he did instill some lasting advice. “This is the part where you actually close the chapter,” Akon continued, “and walk into adulthood.” Following the “Beautiful” singer was O’Neal McKnight, who set the tone with his fitting performance of “This Is the Prom,” a cut off The Pre-Prom Mixtape. During his set, he belted out, “I’m not legal, you’re not legal, let’s do something illegal!”

Ryan Leslie

Ryan Leslie

While O’Neal kicked the event up a notch, it was Ryan Leslie who got everyone on the dance floor. The R&B dude vigorously worked the stage, performing “Addicted,” “Diamond Girl,” and “How It Was Supposed to Be.” “It’s my first prom!” he effervescently wailed to the crowd.

Kat DeLuna

Kat DeLuna

Kat DeLuna, the headliner, stormed onstage with “Whine Up” and “Unstoppable,” giving the performance of her life, which turned many haters into curious fans.

Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi arrived fashionably late to close out the show. He commanded the stage with his ubiquitous hit, “Day ‘N’ Night,” not before proclaiming he’s no imitation, rather the originator of his own musical style. The evening ended with some parting words for the HSFI students. “Never deter,” Ryan Leslie explained. “Because when you follow your passion, the best will be demanded of you.”

Words by Tanya Remekie. Photos by Cassidy “Sparrow” Maldonado.