Stars Come Out to Celebrate Beyonce and Mama Carter at Wakanda Themed Wearable Art Gala (PICS & VIDEO)

WACO Theater hosted its the Second Annual Wearable Art Gala. Led by Tina Knowles Lawson and Richard Lawson, the event celebrated art and raise funds to benefit the newly opened non-profit art and performance complex WACO Theatre Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 17th.

via Beyonce

The Wearable Art Gala celebrated fine art and raised a toast to African American artists whose provocative and inspiring pieces were auctioned to raise money for teen mentorship programs, Tina’s Angels and Richard’s Warriors as well as WACO’s Mobile Arts Theater. The Wearable Art Gala is the signature event of WACO Theater Center, founded and built by Tina Knowles Lawson, a fashion designer, art collector and philanthropist, and her husband, actor, director and master acting teacher, Richard Lawson.  Solange Knowles, Bianca Lawson, Kelly Rowland and La La Anthony served as Honorary Chairs for the second annual Gala.

The Wearable Art Gala was presented by Shea Moisture and sponsored by Morgan Stanley, Live Nation, PRG, LYFT, Nissan and the Horowtiz Family Foundation ESSENCE Magazine returned as media sponsor for the Wearable Art Gala.

“We are truly excited to host the second annual Wearable Art Gala to celebrate art, culture and humanity,” Tina Knowles Lawson says. “We are in a beautiful moment when black art is challenging societal norms, transforming fashion and truly being appreciated on a large scale,” Knowles Lawson adds.

Last fall, the Lawsons opened the doors on a state of the art facility in Los Angeles which houses Richard Lawson Studios and produces productions throughout the year.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to provide a creative center where art can truly to occur, and provide professional and non-professional actors, artists and youth a place to celebrate their own talent and artistry,” says Richard Lawson.

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter was honored with WACO Theater Center’s first Humanitarian Award for providing support to numerous global relief efforts and humanitarian causes including Hand in Hand Hurricane Relief, CHIME FOR CHANGE and Formation Scholars among many others. Knowles-Carter’s philanthropic initiatives are channeled through, BeyGOOD, the organization she founded in 2013.

In 2017, BEYGOOD4BURUNDI partnered with UNICEF to bring clean, safe water to the most vulnerable women and children in Burundi, East Africa.

WACO Theater will also pay tribute to Gloria Carter, mother of Shawn Carter (Jay-Z), who will be the Gala’s inaugural recipient of the Everyday People Award.

Ms. Carter co-founded the Shawn Carter Foundation with the mission of helping individuals who face socio-economic hardships to further their education at post-secondary institutions. Since 2003, the Shawn Carter Foundation has raised over $4 million for initiatives promoting youth empowerment and communities in need.

The foundation hosts an annual college and university tour, offers a scholarship fund, study abroad experiences and counseling initiatives.

Mr. Carter will present the award to his mother and says, “She’s changed people’s lives through education and just being a part of the community and touching it. My mom, like her mother before her, believes in community. She believes in people – and bringing them together. This belief was instilled in me.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 17: LilRel Howery attends WACO Theater’s 2nd Annual Wearable Art Gala on March 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)

Actor and comedian Lil Rel Howery from the Academy Award nominated film GET OUT served as the Gala’s master of ceremonies. Television personality, fashion designer, author, and women’s and diversity advocate, Star Jones returns as the Gala’s celebrity auctioneer.

In 2017, WACO staged its inaugural Wearable Art Gala with Presenting Sponsor, SheaMoisture, helping to raise over $1 million in funds for outreach efforts to support art initiatives and mentorship programs in Los Angeles. The soldout event was attended by Magic Johnson, Octavia Spencer, Kris Jenner, Arianna Huffington, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Yara Shahidi, Michelle Williams as well as art patron Felicia Horowitz, and head of the Ford Foundation, Darren Walker.

The Lawsons’ Louisiana Creole ancestry will be heavily reflected in the Gala’s festivities – from cuisine to entertainment such as a live Zydeco brass band and several art installations throughout the evening.

A Silent and Live Auction was held at the Gala and Blue Ivy Carter stole the show after her bidding war with Tyler Perry – she won.

Works by New York based visual artist Kehinde Wiley, whose painting of President Obama was recently revealed at the Smithsonian Institute, will be available for auction. Additional artists include Lauren Halsey, Sadie Barnette, Bethany Collins, Alonzo Adams, Genevieve Gaignard, Samuel Levi Jones, Robert Pruitt, Eduardo Sarabia and designers such as Radcliffe Bailey, Cynthia Bach and Lorraine Schwartz who is donating a pair of earrings worn by Beyoncé at this year’s recent Grammys festivities.

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WACO Theater Center is dedicated to the empowerment of artists within a diversified pool of LA communities. The mission is to create a space Where Art Can Occur and where students are taught to develop their true purpose and awaken their individual power source which fuels their art. For more information on programs, classes and upcoming events, visit and follow @WacoTheater on Instagram and Facebook, @waco_theater on Twitter.



Latoya Henry is the publisher and founder of Haute Giving: The Sexy Side of Philanthropy.
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