Denzel and Pauletta said they felt compelled to open the doors to their sprawling home in the Hollywood Hills, nestled far away from prying eyes of star tour buses, in celebration of the mostly California-based supporters of the museum who donated more than $55 million dollars to the project over the past few years.
The Saturday night event raised more than $17 million and included the announcement of a hefty pledge of $10 million dollars from television titan Shonda Rhimes, who could not attend the fundraiser.
“There is such a historical significance to this project,’’ said Denzel Washington, who is currently directing Viola Davis in the film adaption of August Wilson’s play ‘Fences.’ “It means so much for our community, our country and to future generations.’’
The lavish evening welcomed big names like Quincy Jones, Magic Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson and featured a performance by R&B singer Goapele Mohlabane who serenaded guests throughout the night. Dinner for the evening included braised short ribs, sea bass and cauliflower steaks.
Pauletta Washington, a noted Broadway performer and accomplished pianist opened the evening with a vocal invocation of the Lord’s Prayer near the home’s Olympian sized pool.
“In this climate where so much money is being raised for the Presidency and The White House, it is incredible to have the support we received,’’ said Pauletta Washington. “It’s good knowing that even with so much going on, people are committed to making sure that this museum is successful.’’