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BET, UNCF to Partner on ‘Stars’

7/18/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

BET is partnering with the United
Negro College Fund to televise the foundation’s
annual UNCF An Evening of Stars
event this fall.

BET will air the An Evening of Stars special
in September,
although
an official date
has not been
announced, according
to network
officials.

The 33-year old event ,
offered in syndication
over the
past few years
— including its
most recent edition
earlier this
January — will
change its format
from an artist
tribute show
to a music/variety
event, with
short video segments
spotlighting
a few of
the 60,000 students
whose education
UNCF
supports every
year, fund CEO
Michael Lomax
told Multichannel
News.

Additionally,
the new program
aims to
rally the entertainment industry around the
importance of education and embody the
spirit of UNCF’s motto, “A mind is a terrible
thing to waste.”

Viewers will be able to text donations to
the organization during the event.

“It’s an extraordinary opportunity for
two powerful brands in the African-American
community to come together on behalf
on what is today arguably the most important
cause in the African-American community,
which is ensuring that the next
generation gets the kind of education that
will make them not only lead strong and
productive lives, but make them economically
viable in an increasingly challenging
and harsh economy,” Lomax said. “[The BET
agreement] definitely provides us with a larger
media platform that this program and this
issue deserves.”

Performers for UNCF An Evening of Stars
have yet to be announced. The show — once
known as the Lou
Rawls Parade of
Stars
— will be
taped before a live
audience on Aug.
14, the network
said.

BET, which has
aired An Evening
of Stars in the past,
has also partnered
with UNCF on several
other projects,
including the BET
Walk of Fame.

“There’s always
been a connection
between
BET and UNCF
so we’re excited to
partner with them
to unite our two
strong brands,”
Stephen Hill ,
president of music
and specials
programming at
BET Networks,
said. “We do specials
and awards
shows, so our role
is not only the airing
of the show as
we’ve done in prior
years but also
in overseeing the production of the show.”

Hill said the network decided to air the special
in the fall to coincide with the back-to
school season. “It was a matter of getting people
thinking about giving to colleges and schools
as school starts,” he said. “Our goals are very
clear: we want to raise as much awareness and
funds for the UNCF as humanly possible.”

October