By Carla Thomas
The paparazzi clamored for moments with actor/director Blair Underwood and during show time the audience screamed to the passion filled songs of Ginuwine as the singer passed out red-long stem roses to two dozen lucky ladies in the VIP area. It was truly a star-studded red carpet night in Richmond’s Craneway Pavilion where guests enjoyed the performances of singer Robin Thicke, Faith Evans, El DeBarge, Jermaine Dupri and debut artist Sydney Nycole. The event, presented by The Headline Company, boasted a fine mix of fashion, music, and charity with the philanthropic and partnering legacy of actor/director Blair Underwood at the center of it all.
|El Debarge & Sydney Nycole|
During the pre-show reception, The Richmond Police Activities League Ensemble performed in a fashion show supporting the Blair Underwood Health and Wellness programs. Serving foster youth the Independent Living Skills Program Director of Training--Robert Jemerson spoke of Underwood’s commitment to the community while recognizing local leaders.
|Blair Underwood & El Debarge|
“Blair Underwood has a number of community programs and his commitment is endless,” said Jemerson referring to Underwood’s partnerships with the Richmond Police Activities League, the Berkeley Youth Alternatives, and El Cerrito High School’s James Morehouse Project.
Vice President of Development at the Aoki Diabetes Research Institute, Leon Woods III discussed the establishment of the Blair Underwood Diabetes Research Center launched in May. While Woods celebrated Underwood’s’ involvement with his organization, he offered the crowd some startling statistics with regard to diabetes, “If you were born in 2003, the records show that one in three people will be diagnosed with diabetes,” he said.
While Underwood manages an on screen life, his off screen life is filled with supporting great causes, but foster children are close to his heart. “At a very young age I was aware of the foster care system and what my adopted sister went through,” he said referring to his adopted sister Melissa. To further impact his partnerships, Underwood is using his new clothing line, B.U. to debut exclusively in K&G stores this November. “The proceeds from all suits will benefit various partnering organizations in the community,“ he smiled.
|Carla Thomas & Blair Underwood|
Aside from the new fashion line, Underwood says fans can check him out starring in New York on Broadway in January next year in Tennessee William’s “A Street Car Named Desire.” Local VIPS’s were Tracy Vaughn of Take Wings, Cathy Adams of CDA Consulting, Barbara Taylor of Taylor Communications, Jackie Wright of Wright Enterprises, and Jacquie Taliaferro of LaHitz Media.
“This is a really great night for the community,” said Tracy Vaughn of Take Wings. “The youth of these organizations are really blessed,” added volunteer Debra Batchie.