By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act December 14, 2012 at 3:03PM
Throughout its 34-year history and in all its formats, UNCF An Evening of Stars® , has made a major contribution to bringing UNCF’s mission of education to wider public attention. The results demonstrate the success that UNCF and its schools have achieved.
The latest edition of UNCF An Evening of Stars® will air nationwide in January 2013 on BET and selected local stations. Since 2011, the program has been produced by BET under UNCF’s direction.
Hosted by comedian and actor Anthony Anderson, star of NBC’s Guys With Kids, will feature both entertainment household names and rising stars, along with education success stories of students who are getting their education with the support of UNCF programs and initiatives. The expanded partnership between UNCF, the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, and BET, the country’s premiere producer and broadcaster of programming for Americans of color, is a real opportunity to unite the strength of the UNCF brand with BET’s valuable viewership, access to talent and marketing resources.
Before adopting its current format, each year’s edition of UNCF An Evening of Stars® honored a nationally known artist—honorees included Lou Rawls (2004), Quincy Jones (2005), Stevie Wonder (2006), Aretha Franklin (2007), Smokey Robinson (2008), Patti LaBelle (2009), Lionel Richie (2010) and Chaka Khan (2011—both by presenting them with the UNCF Award of Excellence and by featuring other, often younger, artists performing songs the honorees had made famous.
The series began as The Lou Rawls Parade of Stars®, a three-hour syndicated telethon. During its first year, The Lou Rawls Parade of Stars® telethon raised $3.5 million for minority education. Celebrity appearances garnered support for UNCF and educational excellence. Those classic shows featured top entertainers, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Bill Cosby, Tony Bennett, The Four Tops and The Commodores, as well as a special appearance by President Ronald Reagan.
Over the years, The Lou Rawls Parade of Stars® became a 12-hour telethon and made history by becoming the first nationally televised fund-raiser to benefit minority higher education. It continued to feature a who’s who of the nation’s most recognizable talent as performers and presenters for the show. By the end of this important era, The Lou Rawls Parade of Stars® had raised approximately $156.6 million for UNCF, its member institutions and students.