Comedian John Leguizamo cut straight to the chorus at the Songwriter Hall of Fame in the Theater District, where he presented the Global Ambassador Award to Pitbull.
“(We’re) not friends but I was friendly with him,” the Queens-bred funnyman said. “I did his first commercial for Burger King back in the day, like a decade ago.”
According to Leguizamo, that partnership was all about the Benjamins.
“Oh yeah, big time,” he confessed. “Is there another reason to do a commercial? Some glory for the art? I doubt it. It’s for the cash.”
Rhonda Ross Kendrick, who’s the daughter of super diva Diana Ross and legendary songwriter Berry Gordy, knows her dad’s music was about more than commercial success. Berry was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Thursday, thanks to his big hits including “Mama Done Told Me” and “Money (That’s What I Want).”
“Yeah, it’s kind of big,” she said, adding, “It’s awe inspiring, truthfully.”
Kendrick isn’t sure when she realized her parents weren’t average folks.
“It’s hard to know because from six months old, I’m around this kind of thing, my father and my mother,” she said. “As you grow up it becomes what you’re used to.”
Legendary producer Irving Azoff, who has worked with Journey, the Eagles, Christina Aquilera and Gwen Stefani, has gotten used to crazy behavior from superstar performers.
“We’ve seen it all after 50 years,” said Azoff, who inducted Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds at the ceremony. “So I wish them all luck and I hope at the end of the trail, the people they meet on the way down like them just as much as they liked them on the way up.”
Jay Z, who’s prepping to be a dad for the second time, became the first rapper inducted into the Hall of Fame at the big event. Also welcomed to the club were Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and Max Martin, James Pankow and Robert Lamm of the group Chicago.