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UNCF An Evening of Stars

UNCF An Evening of Stars

  • Premiered: 
    May 31, 1980
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Syn
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Special, Annual
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter:
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Plot Synopsis

Each year, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) holds an annual event to raise money for its scholarship fund, which helps students in 39 private, historically black colleges and universities. The first fundraiser, then known as THE LOU RAWLS PARADE OF STARS, was taped on October 23, 1979, and was aired the following year across the United States. After being screened (but not on TV) in New York on January 17 and shown on televisions in Houston the following week, the three-hour special was eventually shown in multiple cities on Saturday, May 31, 1980. Some cities, like Syracuse, New York, didn't premiere the telethon until December 6, 1980 -- the first time the special aired in the state of New York -- only after it had "been a big hit in other cities and had been a major means of raising funds," according to an article in the "Syracuse Post Standard." During 1980, THE LOU RAWLS PARADE OF STARS raised $3.6 million and another $4.2 million in 1981 during its 2nd annual fundraising campaign. The fundraiser continued as a telethon through 1997, even expanding to a 12-hour event in 1984, but usually airing as a four- to seven-hour show. In 1998, the program changed names to UNCF: AN EVENING OF STARS - A CELEBRATION OF EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE, brought in a new director, and raised $12.9 million for scholarships in the first year as a celebration. The fundraiser again changed formats in 2004, while celebrating its 25th anniversary, and was renamed as AN EVENING OF STARS, which paid tribute to a celebrity who received UNCF's prestigious Award of Excellence in recognition of their distinguished career as an artist, entertainer and performer and for their longstanding support of UNCF. Awards of Excellence were presented to: Lou Rawls (event televised in 2004); Quincy Jones (2005); Stevie Wonder (2006); Aretha Franklin (2007); Smokey Robinson (2008); Patti LaBelle (2009); Lionel Richie (2010); and Chaka Kahn (2011). In 2012, UNCF: AN EVENING OF STARS again transformed, this time into a variety show, as the fundraiser continues to bring is mission of minority higher education to wider public attention. The 2013 extravaganza, hosted by Anthony Anderson, was taped before a live audience on December 1, 2012 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, airing nationally in syndication on Saturday, January 26, 2013 (check local listings) and on BET at 10pm ET the next day, Sunday, January 27th. Plus, the 2013 event featured performances by Yolanda Adams, Charlie Wilson, Keyshia Cole, Trey Songz, Tyrese Gibson, Melanie Fiona, Eric Benet, and more. The 35th Annual UNCF AN EVENING OF STARS, hosted by Anthony Anderson at the Atlanta Civic Center on April 6, 2014, had its television premiere six days later on Sunday, April 12, 2014 at 10pm ET/PT on BET, featuring performances by Jill Scott, the Isley Brothers, Tye Tribbett, Alice Smith, Sevyn Streeter, Marsha Ambrosius, August Alsina, and Spoken Reasons. Plus, Snoop Dogg, Usher, Jill Scott, Trey Songz, Queen Latifah, and the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation acknowledged student Rising Stars by presenting scholarships to them that will help them finish college. Other participants included the Braxton sisters -- Tamar, Towanda and Trina -- along with Fonzworth Bentley, Keshia Chante, DJ Drama, Demetria McKinney, Sheryl Underwood, Salli Richardson Whitfield, and Mack Wilds.
On Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 10pm ET/PT, BET and Centric premiered the 36th Annual UNCF AN EVENING OF STARS, which was hosted by Anthony Anderson and taped two weeks earlier on April 12th at the Atlanta Civic Center. K. Michelle, Estelle ft. Jussie Smollett, Yolanda Adams, Big Sean, Toni Braxton, Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds, Kem, and Morris Day & The Time performed, while Kevin Hart, Chris Paul, Usher and Pharrell Williams appeared in special pre-recorded videos to award scholarships to exemplary students. In addition to airing on BET and Centric, this event was broadcast in syndication on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26.


Other Titles

  • From 1980 - 1997, event aired with the title The Lou Rawls Parade of Stars

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Jesse Collins Entertainment


  • Pasadena Civic Auditorium (2012/13) - Los Angeles, California USA - Map It!
  • Atlanta Civic Center (2014 & 2015) - Atlanta, Georgia USA - Map It!