Mary J. Blige kicked-off the charity collaboration between Belvedere vodka and the Product Red campaign by performing at an exclusive pre-Grammy concert at club Avalon in Hollywood, California on Thursday night (Feb. 9). The event, was the first in a series of Belvedere activities to raise proceeds for the Global Fund, which reigns as the world's largest financier of programs to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Blige took the stage to perform a short set of hits including "My Life," "No More Drama," and "Just Fine." As the undisputed queen of Hip-Hop soul, the 41-year-old explained that when it comes to narrowing down her favorite rap collaborations over the years, the list is overflowing with some of the best MCs in the game. "Of course Method Man is one of my favorites," Blige told Hip-Hop Wired of the Grammy award-winning track "I'll Be There For You/Your All I Need To Get By" she appeared on. "Jay-Z is one of my favorites, Busta Rhymes is one of my favorites...I mean shoot the list can just go on and on!" Yet when it comes to her dream R&B collaboration, the Yonkers native revealed that if given the opportunity she would have loved to perform with one particular songstress who, like Blige, infused personal struggles in her music. "It was Amy Winehouse at one time. I don't know who that dream collaboration is right now."
Following her set, the music continued by way of DJ Skrillex who manned the turntables, before making way for a surprise performance by drummer and singer Sheila E. Other celebrity attendees included Kelis, MC Lyte, and comedian Chelsea Handler. While the show was a private invite-only event, fans from around the globe were able to tune in to a live stream of Blige's performance via Facebook.
Launched late last year, the Belvedere Red Special Edition bottles offer the same high quality vodka as the brand's standard products but in a limited edition package. Belvedere donates 50 percent of its profits to the Global Fund.