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And there was plenty for people to see, from Madonna's fellow Kabbalists (Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore), to her Scientology rivals (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes), to the divas who would normally be considered competition (J.Lo and Gwen Stefani). Not to mention Donald Trump, Rosie O'Donnell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez, Amy Adams, Debra Messing, Drew Barrymore, Diane von Furstenberg, Barry Diller, Donna Karan, Sandy Gallin, Russell Simmons, his soon-to-be ex-wife Kimora and her current paramour Djimon Hounsou. "It's the cause, Madonna, Gucci and fashion week. You gotta make it," said Diddy.
A giant tent opposite the main building of the United Nations had been Gucci-fied to the point where it was almost a surprise the food itself wasn't slick and black. Organizing it had been no small feat, but Madonna was not surprised she'd managed to pull it off. "I had Gucci and Unicef on my side, so that helped. It's pretty chic, isn't it?"
It certainly was. The dresses were long, the speeches were longer, and the humor in them was largely unintended. ("People always ask me why I chose Malawi and I say I didn't," Madonna said. "It chose me.") Still, it is hard to find much fault in anything that (or anyone who) raises $5.5 million to be split between Unicef and an impoverished African nation. And things really picked up after dinner with an auction cohosted by Chris Rock, who took to the stage and said, "Madonna called me up on the Madonna phone and asked me to the auction. I said, 'Sounds good, but we should probably get a real auctioneer and then I'll stand to his side like Flava Flav and say mean s--t to make people spend more money.' By the way, under each chair tonight is a Malawian child. Everyone gets one."