BET set to air UNCF Evening of Stars, an explosive night of performances

melanie fiona (uncf)

Multi-Grammy Award winning Melanie Fiona performing at the 2013 UNCF Evening of Stars.

*Multi-NAACP Image Award nominee Anthony Hamilton (NBC’s “Guys with Kids”) does a wonderful job hosting this year’s “UNCF (United Negro College Fund) Evening of Stars” televised scholarship fundraiser to air on BET Network January 26 and 27, 2013. Taped previously in December, 2012 in Pasadena California, you will experience an explosive night of performances.

BET partnered this year to produce the event for UNCF, the country’s largest and most effective minority education organization, supporting the education of over 60,000 students each year. Hamilton expertly carries us through the powerful presentations while reminding us why we are privy to such a red carpeted treat, the funding of minority students “adult” education.

First there were the red carpet arrivals. I got there a bit late but I did get to video tape Keyshia Cole, Anthony Hamilton, Shaun Robinson and Sheryl Underwood going in to take their seats, and I talked briefly with Keenen Ivory Wayans and Melanie Fiona.

“Donate, donate, donate,” said multi-Grammy Award winning Melanie Fiona,while on the red carpet. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste and a wonderful thing to invest in.”

Fiona took my breath away, literally, with her version of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” during the event. It seemed that no one was playing around with their performances, everyone performed my favorite songs so powerfully, felt like it was to be their last performance ever.

What a treat it was for me when Tyrese performing his Grammy Award nominated current single “Best of Me” twice! I thought I was in heaven when he came back on stage to repeat it. Then legendary Faith Evans sang one of her current singles “Tears of Joy,” another favorite, I felt I was in church.

The night didn’t end there this continued with every performance, which included Eric Benet, Charlie Wilson (the crowd went so crazy I couldn’t hear a word he was singing); Anthony Hamilton (rocking it his way with his dancing backup singers); Keyshia Cole (looking stunning); Trey Songz, Yolanda Adams (singing masterfully my favorite, “The Battle is Not Yours”), and it ended with an unbelievable performance by ‘forever young” Chaka Khan (with dancers in monogram T-shirts, elaborate stage set and all). I can still hear Chaka’s last song’s lyrics “it’s not over yet,” ending the event with a beautiful array of falling gold and blue balloons.

“It’s important. We have to keep our schools going,” said Keenen, a UNCF Scholarship presenter about the importance of donating to UNCF. “It provides education for people like myself from the inner city…I’m part of the legacy and we want the legacy to continue.”

Other presenters were multi-Billboard Music Award winning Usher, Keke Palmer, Kim Coles, Loretta Devine, Terrence J and so many more. UNCF’s largest scholarship program is the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. It has a 90% graduation rate among its 13,000 low-income minority students. BET, a subsidiary of Viacom, is the nation’s leading provider of cable programming for the African-American audience – reaching more than 90 million households.

For more information or to donate log onto www.UNCF.org.

ABC’s 2013 winter line-up has ‘Zero Hour,’ ‘Scandal,’ ‘Red Widow’ and ‘Shark Tank’ taking the spotlight

ABC’s reality show, “Shark Tank,” cast of ‘sharks.’

*I attended the TCA for Disney ABC’s announcements for their 2013 winter programming line-up that included new series and recurring. The new series “Zero Hour” and “Red Widow,’’ and recurring series “Scandal” and “Shark Tank” took the spotlight. The line-up of exciting programming didn’t stop there with my favorites, but it also includes a long list of other outstanding series.

“One thing I learned from ‘Prison Break’…stories need to end,” said Paul Scheuring co-executive producer of the upcoming new ABC American conspiracy series “Zero Hour,” which has Charles S. Dutton co-starring as a priest. “The entire Nazi conspiracy will end in episode 13.”

Another intriguing new series is “Red Widow,” about a Northern Californian housewife who escaped organized crime, but is drawn back in to protect her children – when her husband is killed.

“She is very human,” said Radha Mitchell who plays the ‘red widow.’ “But she finds the strength.”

ABC’s “Scandal” is back for a second season. I consider myself an excellent crisis manager and Shonda Rhimes does an excellent job portraying the ‘think process.’ The series is based on the life of former George Bush administration press aide Judy Smith.

Expect to see “Bunheads” and “Pretty Little Liars” return to ABC Family, and “The Middle,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and “Shark Tank” are to return to ABC.

“I received help from Samsung because I had ½ million in sales. It didn’t work out, but I’m here because it was a great deal,” said Daymond John when asked if there was a ‘shark’ that helped him. Daymond is one of six millionaires who invest in other people’s dreams on the ABC reality show executive produced by Clay Newbill.

On the “Shark Tank” panel with John, who has an international clothing ‘empire’ are Robert Herjavec, who has a ‘fortune’ of over $200 million, Lori Griener, who has created over 400 products and holds 112 U.S. and international patents and Kevin O’Leary, a founder of the first software company.

Seems to be an exciting season for ABC and you can see the complete winter line-up of programming by logging onto www.DisneyABCTV.com.

(Columnist: Eunice Moseley is a PR/media & promotions consultant, and as well as a syndicated entertainment columnist for over 20 years – www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com.)