None other than Madonna showed up at WSJ’s Innovator Awards Wednesday night, held at MOMA in New York. Eminem lauded Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine for their years of Entrepreneurship including Beats, which was sold to Apple for 3 billion. Jennifer Connelly presented a Fashion award to Nicolas Ghesquiere, and then the material girl took the stage to honor dancer Charles ‘Lil Buck’ Riley in the Performing Arts category.Other honorees included Sou Fujimoto in Architecture; Kara Walker in Art; René Redzepi in Food; and Reshma Saujani in Technology.
“You are as fearless as you are talented,” Madonna said in her introduction of Lil Buck. “You are more than a dancer. You are a poet.” Calling her comments ‘delightfully unhinged’, New York Magazine continued saying “Buck shows up uninvited at my house for dinner all the time” before praising his tenacity, grace and talent.
LA-based Lil Buck received his Innovators award and then performed his now famous ‘The Dying Swan’ in a style of street dance called jookin’. Lil Buck met Madonna in 2011, dancing in her Super Bowl half time show after winning ‘Dance for Madonna Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Competition’. He then joined her MDNA Tour as one of 22 dancers.
Lil Buck is paired here with model Joan Smalls in Daniel Jackson’s editorial for WSJ Magazine. George Cortina styles the duo in long and lean, mostly black elegance. Read WSJ’s in-depth feature Lil Buck Elevates Jookin’ to an Art.
Watch an exquisite performance of Lil Bucks and ‘The Dead Swan’ at the Vail International Dance Festival and author Sarah Lewis’s interview with Lil Buck at The Aspen Institute.