The 36th Annual United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Evening of Stars® was a celebration of accomplishments, an evening of generosity and great entertainment.
I almost lost my voice at the event. The awarding of scholarships was akin to a roll call at the Essence Music Festival. Instead of cheering for your hometown the audience applauded their alma mater.
This year’s show highlighted 20 students and presented more than one-half million dollars to those attending historically Black colleges and universities.
Moreover, Grammy Award Winning Recording Artist/Actress/Author Toni Braxton and her son Diezel Ky Braxton-Lewis presented a $10,000 scholarship to Terence Brice an autistic young man to further his education.
Getting caught up in the moment, Big Sean donated $25,000 to UNCF while Actor/Comedian Anthony Anderson and Recording Artist Ronnie DeVoe of Bell Biv DeVoe joined forces to payoff the $11,867 balance of a graduate’s student loan.
During the show, Anderson awarded a total of $25,000 in scholarships to two students attending HBCUs. Those students are Shanise Nycole Dantzler of North Carolina A&T University and Edwin Alexander Simpson of Claflin University. Anderson also provided financial support to scholarship runners–‐up Katrinan Rosemond of North Carolina A&T University and Cierra T. Graham of Bennett College for Women.
An Evening of Stars also included special taped appearances by Kevin Hart who awarded four students $25,000 each , Chris Paul NBA Player from the Los Angeles Clippers awarded a student a $10,000 scholarship, Pharrell Williams awaded a student a $50,000 scholarship and Usher through the UNCF/Usher Raymond IV New Look Scholarship awarded $100,000 to a student. The $100,00 will be distributed over a period of 4 years.
As it so happens, celebrities totaled an estimated $300,000 in contributions to UNCF scholarships.
Aside from the spirit of giving was great entertainment. A defining moment of the evening was the performance by Estelle and Jussie Smollett (Empire) of “Conqueror.” Other great performances include Yolanda Adams, Big Sean, Toni Braxton, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Mickey Guyton, Kem, K. Michelle and not to be outdone Morris Day and the Time who choreographed their poses for photographers. It took me a minute to catch on.
Presenters include Ludacris (“Fast and Furious 7”), Tri Byers (Empire), Jermaine Dupri, Ne-Yo, Grace Gealey (Empire), Dania Ramirez (Devious Maids) and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Keshia Knight Pulliam(Tyler Perry’s House of Payne) made a guest appearance and comedian Jonathan Slocumb was on hand to warm up the crowd.
UNCF/ Target’s Rising Stars are Frank Adams, Clark Atlanta University; Donnie Pulliam, Morehouse College; Tatiana Holder, Benedict College; JaJuan Sanders, Oakland University; and Dennis Richmond, Claflin University.
Daria Jordan from Spelman College, is the recipient of the UNCF/Buick Achievers Scholarship. The scholarship funded her entire college career.
Other scholarships recipients are Ayannah Woods, Keven Hart Foundation Scholarship; Amber McGill, Bennett College; Alexus Mitchell, Usher’s New Look Foundation Scholarship; Isis Tarrats, Walton Family Foundation Scholarship; Tracy Prather; Terence Brice; Shanira Garvin, Kevin Hart Foundation Scholarship; Sarah John, Howard University; Nathan Gordon, Miles College, Sean Anderson Foundation Scholarship; Krystal Watson, Wiley College, and Evan Smith, Kevin Hart Foundation Scholarship.
Student performers include the Atlanta University Center Orchestra, Dillard University, Miles College and Talladega College.
Target is UNCF An Evening of Stars® scholarship and official sponsor. Other national sponsors include McDonald’s, Wells Fargo, and Buick. The City of Atlanta, iHeartMedia and BET Networks serve as the city and media partners, respectively. The Walton Family Foundation is a philanthropic partner.
The program was taped at the Atlanta Civic Center, Atlanta GA on April 12th. UNCF An Evening of Stars®, hosted by Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), will air nationally Sunday April 26, 2015 10pm Eastern/9pm Central on the BET Network. #great show #please give #uncf