Wednesday, November 10, 2010

BeansTalk on the Red Carpet & In the Audience

Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Camilla Bell and Jason Mraz. (Amy Graves, Getty Images)

The Freedom Awards

by Michael Robinson

Contributing Reporter and Writer

Forrest Whitaker, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and Camilla Belle were all under one roof, but for one night they were not the stars in attendance.

The Freedom Awards and Freedom Rocks events were held on November 7, 2010 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center and both honored former slaves and celebrated the accomplishments and courage of abolitionists — handing out three awards and one fellowship to people from around the world who work to free slaves. BeansTalk was there to cover the event.

Jason Mraz provided one of the more touching moments at the Free the Slaves’ awards show when he played “What Would Love Do Now” and “Freedom Song” with the Agape children’s choir, with a story in his lead-in video that brought him to tears to re-tell.

Mraz recently spent time traveling through Ghana with James Kofi Annan, a former child slave and the Freedom Awards 2008 Frederick Douglass Award winner, visiting children who are former slaves. He spoke of these children who had just recently become free (many thanks to Annan), singing “Freedom Song” note for note.

Another emotional moment came when Annan himself took the stage to speak of the impact that the Frederick Douglass Award has had on his cause. He said it has brought recognition to his mission, and also brought protection from people who had threatened him.

Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher received the biggest laughs of the night when Moore admitted that she couldn’t see the teleprompter.

“I should be wearing my glasses, sorry,” said Moore.

Kutcher came to the aid of his graciously fumbling spouse.

“I love that we act like these prompters don’t exist — like we’ve got it all memorized. Clearly, I’m talking to this half of the room,” he said, pointing at the audience seated on the same side of his teleprompter.

It was a night of education for many, including some presenters. The host of the night, Sir Ken Robinson, admitted that he didn’t know how big of a problem modern day slavery was until he was asked to be a presenter at the Freedom Awards first event two years ago.

“I had no idea. I thought we already did this,” said Robinson.

Vincent Kartheiser had the same exact experience this year. When asked to be a presenter, the actor who plays the baby-faced, contemptible Pete Campbell on ‘Mad Men’, says that he didn’t know much about the cause, but after doing some research, he supports Free the Slaves.

Free the Slaves organization helps free slaves around the world. According to its “conservative estimate,” there are currently 27 million people enslaved internationally.

After the Freedom Awards, guests celebrated at Freedom Rocks After Party and Concert hosted by actor and TV host Ryan Devlin which featured rockin' performances by the Makepeace Brothers, Luc and the Lovingtons, Rocky Dawuni and a special encore performance by Jason Mraz.

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(A very special thanks to for providing BeansTalk readers with the opportunity to win two VIP tickets -- congrats to winner Jenny Daniels of North Hills, Calif -- as well as a special BeansTalk promo code to receive discounts for tickets to the event.)