The Cipriani/Deutsche Bank concert series opened its third season at Cipriani Wall Street last night, continuing its tradition of bringing artists like Mary J. Blige and Kanye West to perform private concerns for finance types and the pretty young things who may or may not love them. This year’s series benefits UNICEF and the Sarah Ferguson Foundation, and opening night finally answered an age-old question: Who do rich white people like more, Snoop Dogg or the Pussycat Dolls?
The Dolls went first, strutting down the red carpet and shivering in dresses skimpy enough to make us wonder if we’d imagined the recent nor’easter. They got royal diva treatment: an introduction from Naomi Campbell, who instructed everyone to put their phones away, “off the table where I can’t get to them.” (Ha! Dig the assaulting-maids humor!) But the set went too long, and its part involved audience members getting onstage to shake their booties for a camera, which then projected said shaking on giant screens at each end of the ballroom. One of the enthusiastically participating audience members was a 9-year-old girl with long blonde hair, whose booty-shaking was rather cute. Until it got creepy.
Then Snoop arrived, his name spelled out in diamonds on brass knuckles, and the crowd leapt to its feet. He called out for women, and immediately twenty swarmed to the stage to grind with him. Russell Simmons got crushed against the stage. Hands waved in the air; it was like they just didn’t care. “Somebody say ‘ho!” Snoop shouted during a cover of 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.,” clearly immune to any Imus-like backlash. The crowd roared back. Then he launched into Akon’s “I Wanna Love You,” changing the words to “I wanna fuck you.” Audience members got on their chairs and cheered.
It was clear who the rich white people liked best. —Bennett Marcus