Ryan Long, Ashton Kutcher, City Gala 2018
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Ryan Long Provides A World Of Change To Non-Profits With Oscar-Themed City Gala

Long is using his influence to bring resources to lower incomes neighborhoods and more. 

This year's Oscars secured plenty of odes to stories fueled by unique perspectives. From The Shape Of Water (by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro) being the first sci-fi-esque film to win best picture and Get Out mastermind Jordan Peele taking home the golden trophy for best original screenplay, the ceremony showed just how important narratives outside our own can impact the culture.

The same goes for the fourth annual City Gala, which also took place on the evening of the Oscars (Mar. 4). The annual event, which made its debut in 2015, is dedicated to building community through activities and events focusing on humanitarianism and philanthropy. Founded by Ryan Long, an African-American Social Entrepreneur, the City Gala is more than an award-charity hybrid.

Long's vision of celebrity and charity wasn't always in the stars. For Medium, Cheryl Snapp Conner shared the social entrepreneur's journey, as well as his personal hardships. After escaping childhood abuse, he went on find refuge and inspiration in his grandfather, who helped built his work ethic. What soon followed was a career in managing nightclubs and music showcases which helped him understand financial wins and lows.

While his career found a steady groove, his personal life came crashing down once his grandfather was diagnosed with dementia. Long would move in his grandmother's house after his grandfather ended his own life. In that time, self-care and in-depth research encouraged him to find a new passion– "the concept of contributing and giving."

What came out of it was the City Gala, which combines influencers with talented startup, non-profits to help garner awareness and sponsorship. It's early ceremonies (2015-2016) honored legends like Quincy Jones and Buzz Aldrin with keynote speakers like Halle Berry, Anthony Mackie and Sean Combs.

It later extended into a three-day experience with the City Summit, fashion show and more. The day-long summit program highlights non-profit organizations and the work that they do to improve the social welfare of others.

This year’s City Summit special guest speaker was Ashton Kutcher. Aside from his acting reel, Kutcher has built a solid platform for his advocacy against and dedication towards building technology that ends child sexual abuse through his non-profit organization, THORN.

While the event inspires the heart and mind, it also playfully boosts the ego with the popular Celebrity Poker Tournament.

Attendees included John Salley, Mark Wahlberg, Ray Lewis, Amina Buddafly and Black Lighting star Skye P. Marshall.

Matthew McConaughey received the Inspiration Honoree award for his philanthropic contributions with “just keep livin”, a non-profit organization founded with wife Camila Alvez. The organization works with high school students, providing resources for healthier and more active lives.

In his speech to attendees, the Oscar-winner touched on greatness and potential of youth no matter what origin. "You get them while they still have the incentive to change,” he said. “There’s a chance to redirect their lives in a positive way.” As he continued to breathe inspiration to listeners, he spoke about the reciprocal cycle of gratitude.

“Gratitude is the icing on the cake in my mind,” McConaughey added. “The more you’re thankful for, the more you’re going to create in your life to be thankful for.”

Seems like Long's vision to inspire is working out after all. The gala successfully backs nine non-profit  organizations including Bright Futures Foundation, Fulfilled Families, Firelife Foundation, Project NOW, Already Always Amazing, Conscious Capitalism, Child Liberation Foundation, Feed A Billion and My Life My Power.

Find out more about City Gala here.

READ: Oscars 2018: Jordan Peele Becomes First Black Screenwriter To Win Best Original Screenplay

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Critics appeared to be upset about the film's storyline which depicted the true relationship between jazz pianist and composer Dr. Don Shirley (played by Ali) and Tony "Lip" Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen). In the movie, Shirley, a black man from the deep South in 1962, hires an unemployed, white bouncer from the Bronx as his security to escort him during a the segregation era. During their journey, the two develop an unbreakable bond while confronting their differences. The backlash came after Shirley's family stated that the film and Ali's portrayal was inaccurate and filled with lies.

"I will say this," Ali said in response to the controversy, “my job is always the same: I have to look at what I am doing and be responsible for it."

He added: "I respect the family…and Doc Shirley. I spoke to the studio and the family and at the end of the day you wish everyone was happy and you don’t want to offend anyone in any capacity."

This is Mahershala Ali's first Golden Globe win. Check out his acceptance speech above.

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Regina King Makes Vow To Employ Women On Everything She Produces

Regina King took home the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk on Sunday (Jan. 7). While it was the Hollywood star's time to shine, King took a moment during her acceptance speech to acknowledge other women in the industry with a courageous pledge.

After thanking various contributors who helped her nab the win, King addressed a more important issue. "The reason why we do this is because we understand that our microphones are big and we are speaking for everyone," she said. "And I just want to say that I’m going to use my platform right now to say in the next two years, everything that I produce, I’m making a vow — it’s going to be tough — to make sure that everything that I produce that is 50% women."

She concluded: "And I just challenge anyone out there — anyone out there who is in a position of power, not just in our industry, in all industries — I challenge you to challenge yourselves and stand with us in solidarity and do the same."

King is now a two-time Golden Globe winner. She previously won the award in 2016 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for her role in American Crime. She was also nominated this year for her performance in Seven Seconds but did not win.

Watch Regina King's acceptance speech at the 2019 Golden Globes n the video above.

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Moët & Chandon and Virgil Abloh celebrate the Launch of Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial Rosé c/o Virgil Abloh™ in New York City.

Virgil Abloh Launches Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial Rosé In NYC

Fashion powerhouse Virgil Abloh has joined forces with Moët & Chandon to re-design two limited edition bottles of Moët Nectar Impérial Rosé champagne.

Launched on Wednesday (Oct. 17), the creative visionary and #1 best selling rosé champagne hosted an exclusive event at New York City's New Museum to preview the exclusive designs. Working closely with Moët to curate the experience, Abloh debuted a  3L jeroboam, available exclusively to the friends and family, as well as a 750ml “ready-to-wear” design at the high-profile event.

Marking the creative's first-ever liquor brand collaboration, Vice President of Moët & Chandon USA Renaud Butel and Abloh toasted to the “new wave” of  Moët & Chandon, nodding to Abloh's signature  “DO NOT DROP” styling.

The event was soundtracked by DJ Venus X, who provided energetic beats while guests enjoyed a four-course meal designed to pair with Moët Nectar Impérial Rosé champagne, with the final course being paired with two custom cocktails–“The New Classic” and “The Drop”–created specifically for this event.

The special and celebratory night ended on a high note, when the crowd was treated to a surprise DJ performance by Abloh himself.

A jack of all trades, Virgil Abloh has a passion for DJing and producing and recently debuted his own Beats 1 Radio Show on Apple Music dubbed 'Televised Radio." This latest collaboration continues a blockbuster year that has seen him become the artistic director of Louis Vutton menswear, and continued success with his series of collaborative sneakers with Nike and his company Off-White.

Originally announced in September, the 750ml "ready-to-wear" design is now available for $60 at retailers nationwide, as well as online at Clos19.com.

READ MORE: Virgil Abloh’s Moët & Chandon Collaboration Is Too Cool To Sip

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