At the Fresh Air Fund's annual spring gala, Mariah Carey proved that when it comes to the singer, an old adage rings true: She is, indeed, late but worth the wait.
Ms. Carey was being "saluted as an American Hero" for her two decades of work with the organization, as well as the 20th Anniversary of Camp Mariah (which is under the umbrella of the Fresh Air Fund and offers a summer vacation and learning program to underprivileged children. But nobody even flinched as she wafted into the ballroom of Pier 60 at 8:47 p.m. on Thursday evening, two hours after the official start of the party.
"I didn't get a chance to touch up before I got here," she explained as she took the stage, pulling out a compact and inspecting her face. The audience, which had already listened to success stories from campers preaching the gospel of Mariah, roared in laughter. Their diva had arrived.
"When I first started out with Camp Mariah, I was basically a kid as well," she said. (chiming in with, "No, for real!" when the crowd laughed). "And I thought, this would be a fun project."
Ms. Carey continued on, explaining how in the two decades that she has been involved with the Fresh Air Fund, the not-for-profit agency which provides free summer experiences for children in New York, has now touched her life in a multitude of ways, creating relationships with campers and board members.
She also expressed her gratitude for the evening's décor, which was an over-the-top butterfly theme in her honor, including light projections and thousands of different decorations of the colorful insects.
"I was involved when we were planning this whole thing," said celebrity stylist June Ambrose, who herself was involved in the Fresh Air Fund program as a child. "I said, 'Butterflies? If she could tattoo 20 of them on her a—, she would. This is perfect!'"
Tiki Barber said he first got involved with the Fresh Air Fund in 2000, and was one of a number of athletes in attendance including dinner-committee member Victor Cruz and Amar'e Stoudemire. Mr. Barber also appreciated the ode to Ms. Carey: "My wife Tracey loves the [butterfly] see-through umbrellas. When it's all over I'm going to ask for one for her."
Al Roker, who emceed the event, included Mr. Carey in a number of good-natured jokes, shouting back and forth with her in the audience.
As for Ms. Carey, she may have arrived late, but she was one of the last to leave. The singer snapped photo after photo with campers and guests before lingering in her car in the parking lot, talking with fans through the window, encouraging them the same thing she had said in her speech earlier in the evening. "Never, ever give up on your dreams."
(The Wall Street Journal)
Mariah Carey got home from Monaco and the World Music Awards just in time yesterday. Last night at Chelsea Piers, Mariah was toasted by the Fresh Air Fund for 20 years of her Camp Mariah in upstate New York. It was a poignant event as Carey, who arrived in a black Rolls Royce, arrived with "The Butler" director Lee Daniels and record producer Jermaine Dupri and many of the gang from DefJam Records including president Steve Bartels.
Inside the packed dining hall, Carey was toasted by emcee Al Roker, followed by a few graduates of her Camp Mariah. Believe it or not, Mariah started the camp two decades ago and has never let go of it whether in good times or bad. Now a former camper is the leader of the camp, and he spoke beautifully introducing Mariah. Carey sat at the center front table dressed in a powder blue gown designed by Donatella Versace. She blushed as one by these high school kids paid homage to her.
At one point, Roker made a joke purposely confusing Dupri for P. Diddy. That got some chuckles. But Dupri is having the last laugh. The album he's made with Carey has gotten more good reviews than any of her previous ones in two decades.
In a crush of fans and former campers, Mariah and I did have a chance to talk. I told her I was impressed with all the detail in her new album. She told me, "That's why it took so long. Now you can see." I told her I particularly liked the track "Thirsty." She said: "I wrote that so long ago. I don't know what Nick [husband Nick Cannon] was talking about the other day. That song is not about him."