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Robin Thicke, John Legend, & Mary J. Blige Inject Soul Into Super Bowl 2014

Super Bowl 2014 weekend kicked off with "Super Soul Friday" on January 31st as Robin Thicke, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, and The O'Jays all entertained at A-list bashes in Manhattan.

Robin Thicke attends the ESPN The Party at Basketball City - Pier 36 - South Street on January 31, 2014 in New York City.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images For ESPN
Robin Thicke attends the ESPN The Party at Basketball City - Pier 36 - South Street on January 31, 2014 in New York City.
Photo by Michael Loccisano

Legend and Blige were on the all-star bill along with Marc Anthony at the Men's Fitness and Shape Magazine charity bash at Cipriani on East 42nd Street. The "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul" began the evening performing her hits including "Real Love," "No More Drama," "I'm Goin' Down," and "Not Gon' Cry" and received a standing ovation. Legend dedicated his platinum hit "All Of Me" to the woman who inspired the song, his wife Chrissy Teigen. Anthony closed the show and brought the crowd to its feet as he turned the night into a salsa party.

Over 300 celebrities were in attendance including Spike Lee, Katie Couric, Gayle King, film producer Harvey Weinstein, Ice-T and CoCo, Katrina Bowden from "30 Rock," Erin Andrews from Fox Sports, New York Giant football star Justin Tuck, and numerous models including Petra Nemcova, Chanel Iman, and Tyson Beckford.

Proceeds from the dinner benefited Nemcova's Happy Hearts Fund which assists children after natural disasters, Legend's Show Me Campaign which provides quality education for youth, the Mary J. Blige Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now Inc., and Anthony's Maestro Cares which aids orphaned children in Latin America.

Across town in the Meatpacking District, Magic Johnson hosted "Aspire’s Ultimate 70’s Soul Party" at the Time Warner Cable Studios on West 14th Street. While guests were in formal attire at Cipriani, Magic's colorful crowd wore throwback threads from the 1970s. Many sported Afro wigs including the "Magic Man," who thanked Rev. Al Sharpton for helping him launch his new Aspire TV network. Following The O'Jays' performances of their many classics including "Love Train," "For The Love of Money," and "Used ta Be My Girl," Magic kicked off a "Soul Train" dance line as the guests boogied across the floor to the beats of DJ Nice.

The grand finale of the "Super Soul Friday" triple-header was ESPN's spectacular tenth annual Super Bowl party at Basketball City on Pier 36 between the Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge. A cavalcade of luxury SUVs carried over 2000 movers and shakers in sports, entertainment, and media to the lower east side to enjoy Thicke headlining the evening following Kendrick's Lamar's opening performance.

Thicke strutted across the stage in a sharp, black three-piece suit and proudly proclaimed, "It is a dream come true to perform at the ESPN Super Bowl party in New York." His impassioned 45 minute set included cover versions of Michael Jackson's "Rock With You" and Al Green's "Let Stay Together," but of course, the crowd was waiting for his signature hit, and he did not disappoint. Thicke whipped the capacity audience into a frenzy with the tune that was named Billboard magazine's "Song of Summer 2013" and remained at number one for twelve weeks last year, "Blurred Lines."

The VIP crowd included New York Yankee CC Sabathia, Olympic gold medalists Lindsey Vonn, DeeDee Trotter, and Sasha Cohen; NFL Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Eric Dickerson; football stars Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett from the Chicago Bears; Ray Rice from the Baltimore Ravens, and Antonio Gates from the San Diego Chargers; ESPN announcers Stuart Scott, Keyshawn Johnson, Jerome Bettis and Tim Tebow; "Live With Kelly and Michael" host Michael Strahan, former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, and Miami Heat basketball star Shane Battier.

Among the entertainers enjoying the festivities were Kellan Lutz from "The Twilight Saga," Aaron Paul from "Breaking Bad," Karina Smirnoff from "Dancing With The Stars, "American Idol" winner Phillip Phillips, actress Tika Sumpter from the movie "Ride Along," Sherri Shepherd from "The View," Dule Hill from the Broadway musical "After Midnight," Miss USA Erin Brady, and Jermaine Dupri who served as the DJ.

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