For everything that music and entertainment do to better people’s lives, it’s all put into a sobering context when you hear someone speak about their work at a cancer treatment center. And the music industry’s work with City of Hope cancer treatment and research center in Los Angeles is one of its greatest charitable efforts. This year, Republic Records founders (and brothers) Monte and Avery Lipman will be honored with the Spirit of Life awards at a gala dinner in October, and the campaign kicked off this month with a Tuesday breakfast at Tavern on the Green in New York and at an event in Los Angeles earlier in May.
Republic artist Billy Porter and a galaxy of label staffers were in attendance, as were multiple Univeral Music execs, attorneys and many others. Universal Publishing president Evan Lamberg — who first met Monte when both were freshman at what was then the State University of New York at Albany — essentially MC’ed the event, and introduced two top City of Hope executives, Lean Burton, herself a cancer survivor and a leader of prostate cancer research at the facility, and Natalie Shakeman, who leads the efforts for supportive care, which (in a drastic oversimplification) is essentially the non-traditional aspects of cancer treatment: she noted that cancer takes over the entire life not only of the patient but their families, and spoke of the ways the center works to support them in ways that go beyond medicine. Both spoke in deeply affecting terms of their work at the center and the impact it has had on literally thousands of lives.
Monte and Avery kept their speeches brief, but spoke of the important work done not only at the center but also how music can help people heal. Avery said that the passion Republic’s staff feels for music is mirrored by the dedication of the people at City of Hope, and Monte recalled speaking with the Weeknd on March 13, 2020, as the release date for “After Hours” approached at the same time the world was closing down due to the pandemic. As the Weeknd told Variety at the time, there was a brief discussion about whether or not they should delay the album. Monte recalled saying, “I don’t know, this one isn’t in the CEO handbook,” yet they almost immediately decided not to delay the album’s release, because the music might help people through the crisis — which, judging by fans’ reactions, is exactly what happened. He also spoke of the New Radicals Gregg Alexander, a Republic artist who was in attendance, and how his song “You Get What You Give” has literally touched people’s lives. “That’s what we do,” he said.
He also noted that the main City of Hope event will be taking place in Los Angeles on Oct. 27, with Jack Johnson as guest.
The Spirit of Life Award is City of Hope’s most prestigious honor and is presented to a community of industry leaders around the world who have made a significant commitment to improving the lives of others through the advancement of research and clinical innovation and the delivery of personalized, compassionate care.
Past Music, Film and Entertainment Industry Group recipients include Sylvia Rhone, Jon Platt, Mo Ostin, Clive Davis, Quincy Jones, Frances W. Preston, Shelli and Irving Azoff, Edgar Bronfman Jr., Doug Morris and Lucian Grainge. The music industry has raised nearly $125 million for research that has yielded therapies and treatments.
“City of Hope remains one of the most important organizations in terms of diagnosis, treatment and providing care for those in need,” commented Monte Lipman. “Their groundbreaking research for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases continues to save many lives. To be recognized by City of Hope is an exceptional honor, and we are fully committed to raising even more awareness for this incredibly worthy cause.”
“We’ve marveled at City of Hope’s tireless work for many years,” adds Avery Lipman. “Evan and the board have furthered a very important mission that has made the world a better place in the process. As far as we’re concerned, this is one of the most important honors we could ever receive.”