MoMA’s Modern Jazz Social to Honor Debra L. Lee and Transform the Museum into a Jazz Club Featuring Performances by Cécile Mclorin Salvant, Aaron Diehl, and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter on April 3

The Museum of Modern Art’s Modern Jazz Social, a benefit and live music performance, will honor Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of BET Networks, on April 3. The benefit will transform the Museum’s Agnes Gund Garden Lobby into a jazz club featuring performances by Cécile McLorin Salvant, Aaron Diehl, and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter. A cocktail hour will include access to the exhibition Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965–2016.

The event is organized by The Friends of Education, a MoMA affiliate group dedicated to raising public awareness of African American artists, supporting the Museum’s education initiatives, and encouraging the participation of African Americans at MoMA. Proceeds from the Modern Jazz Social directly support the Friends’ efforts, and in 2017 the benefit raised funds to help acquire important works by African American artists, such as Adam Pendleton’s A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer (2016) and Benny Andrew’s No More Games Studies (1970). The proceeds were also used to support the upcoming exhibitions Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965–2016 and Bodys Isek Kingelez.

Named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment and one of Billboard’s Power 100, Debra Lee’s 30-plus-year career in the industry has included numerous accolades from across the cable industry, as well as recognition as one of this country’s most respected business executives. In February 2017, the GRAMMY Organization recognized Lee with the Salute To Industry Icons Award, on behalf of her major contributions to American music and culture. She is currently the first and only woman to receive the distinguished honor. During her tenure, Lee has helmed BET’s reinvigorated approach to corporate philanthropy and to authentic programming, which lead to hits such as The New Edition Story, Being Mary Jane, The BET Awards, Black Girls Rock!, BET Honors, and many more.

Tables at the event range from $7,500 to $25,000, with individual tickets beginning at $750. Tickets can be purchased by visiting, calling MoMA’s Special Programming and Events office at (212) 708-9960, or emailing

Special thanks to Moët Hennessy USA.