UNCF Remembers Legendary Spokesman Lou Rawls

The Sept. 8 and 9 taping of An Evening of Stars(R) Tribute to Aretha Franklin benefiting the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) will be the first time in 28 years that the UNCF’s annual TV special will be produced without legendary performer Lou Rawls, who died in January at the age of 72.

But Rawls, who is credited with originating the idea for the TV event in 1979 and helping the UNCF to raise over $200 million for minority higher education, will be remembered on the 28th anniversary of the program with a special award bearing his name. The Lou Rawls-UNCF Award will be given to an artist whose career exemplifies Rawls’ passion for ensuring that minority youth receive a quality college education. The first recipient of the accolade will be announced Friday, Sept. 8 during the taping at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. As part of its partnership with UNCF and commitment to education, Target will be the corporate sponsor of the Lou Rawls-UNCF Award.

“When Lou Rawls passed, UNCF felt it was important that his esteemed legacy not fade away, but shine brighter than ever on the television event in which he invested so much of his time and talent,” said UNCF President and CEO Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D. “Each year, this award will go to a worthy individual whose service to our mission of education and supporting member colleges lives up to the name of the man for whom it was created.”

“What an amazing way to continue the legacy of such an extraordinary man. Although Lou himself was not able to attend college, he created this telethon 28 years ago with selfless sacrifice and a vision to help those who would strive for higher education fulfill their dream,” said Nina Rawls, widow of the Grammy Award-winning vocalist. “It is truly an honor to keep his name and vision alive for future generations.”

From 1979 to 1997, the UNCF’s annual television special was known as The Lou Rawls Parade of Stars(R). The program was re-formatted and re-named An Evening of Stars(R) in 1998. At its 25th anniversary in 2004, the program adopted a tribute format to recognize an outstanding artist each year with the UNCF’s prestigious Award of Excellence. Rawls was the first recipient of the award, followed by Quincy Jones in 2005 and Stevie Wonder in 2006. Aretha Franklin will become the fourth recipient and first female artist to receive the annual tribute and UNCF’s Award of Excellence.

The live taping at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood will feature celebrity presenters and well-known performers from a variety of eras and genres of music and acting. As one of the longest running and most successful televised events in U.S. history, An Evening of Stars(R) has featured a Who’s Who of recognizable talent, including Frank Sinatra, Bill Cosby, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dick Clark, Nancy Wilson, Reba McIntyre, Richard Pryor, Beyonce Knowles, Jill Scott, Luther Vandross, Whoopi Goldberg, Patti LaBelle, Ed McMahon, Vanessa Williams, Michael Bolton, Toni Braxton, Hall and Oates, Ziggy Marley and scores of others.

Learn more about UNCF at http://www.uncf.org

Via PRNewswire

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