The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is showcasing their annual UNCF “A Night with the Stars,” an event that focuses on the great need for more African-American college graduates that will air nationwide on Saturday and on BET this Sunday.
Comic actor Anthony Anderson hosted the event along with special performances from popular African-American artists including Yolanda Adams, Charlie Wilson, Keyshia Cole, Trey Songz, Tyrese Gibson and Melanie Fiona.
UNCF is credited for being the country’s largest minority education organization that supports the education of over 60,000 students each year and gives scholarships to 15,000 deserving students.
“It was fun, this is what I live for…You know being out there with a live audience! You feed off that energy and you just have a ball,” Anderson told theGrio. “It was just all about us having a good time and presenting these students this money so they can have an education.”
When asked why NBC’s Guys with Kids star decided to become apart of UNCF, he says he wanted to give back to African-American students struggling in school both financially and academically: ”I’m African-American, that’s first and foremost, so that’s why I believe in helping ‘our’ own community, my own community, because if I don’t who will?”
The numbers are staggering for African-American students. According to UNCF, only five percent of black students who graduate high-school are college-ready and only 28 percent of those students end up receiving bachelors degree.
Anderson says that like many students that UNCF, he could not finish college due to the lack of finances which was why contributing to this event became very personal him.
“I didn’t have money, I didn’t have the resources to [finish college]. My parents didn’t have the money to send me to school,” Anderson revealed. “I had the grades to get into school and I was there, but I just didn’t have the money to finish.”
Anderson left Howard University his junior year to save money and eventually return to get his Bachelor’s degree. However, he soon found himself as a professional actor.
But his absence from school is not stopping the 42-year old from returning one day and walking the graduation stage.
“I want to go back to get my college degree, so if I have a bachelor’s my kids will at least have to get a master’s,” Anderson jokes.
The event is something that viewers don’t want to miss, according to Anderson, with heartfelt stories from numerous African-American students and riveting performances from Keyshia Cole and Anderson’s favorite of the night, Charlie Wilson.
“It’s a tear-jerker to see some of these students and to hear what they’ve gone through, from being homeless to losing their parents to promising their parents on their deathbed that they will do this. They’ve come hell to high water,” Anderson says. “The emotions run the gamut from being very sad to sheer joy and elation.”
The NBC sitcom star also opened up on working on the set of Guys with Kids, a sitcom chronicling the ups and downs of parenting with three stay-at-home dads.
Anderson, a father of two himself, says that he channels his experiences as father on set to his character Gary, but he’s never in his life has ever worked with so many babies:
“Shooting the pilot we have 14 babies on set, seven sets of twin we all shared. Now we have 12 [sets of twins] when we work at any given time,” he says. “But the babies are the real star of the shows. They want what they want ,when they want it and when they don’t get their way, they’ll piss and shit and cry throughout the scene until they get it.”
The first season of Guys with Kids just wrapped and they are waiting to see if the show will be renewed for another season, pending mixed reviews on the show.
UNCF “A Night with the Stars” premieres nationwide on Saturday, January 26 (check local listings for stations and times) and airs on BET Networks on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 10:00 p.m. EST.
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