March 12, 2023 – Although the COVID-19 pandemic put Byron Allen’s Annual Oscar Gala on a temporary hiatus from 2020, the invite-only philanthropic event came back with a vengeance this year.
The 95th Academy Awards captivated the attention of 18.7 viewers, but Byron Allen’s 5th Annual Oscar Gala stole the show, attracting the creme de la creme of Hollywood’s echelon in support of benefiting children’s health.
The gala’s guests rivaled the Academy Awards, with attendees such as Anthony Anderson, Daymond John, Sharon Stone, Holly Robinson Peete, Candy Spelling, Vivica Fox, Jackée Harry, Kel Williams, Yvette Nicole Brown, Kym Whitley, Tommy Davidson, Shaun Robinson, Mona Scott-Young, Tisha Campbell, Garcelle Beauvais, Kenya Barris, Ben Crump, and more.
In the last five years, Allen has become one of the most prolific media moguls to date, owning a portfolio of outlets that includes Entertainment Studios, theGrio website, the Weather Channel, HBCU Go, Black News Channel, and a string of network affiliate television stations.
Howie Mandel served as the master of ceremony while Allen’s roster of talent that included Judge Greg Mathis, Judge Kevin Ross, Judge Cristina Perez, Judge Lauren Lake, Judge Mablean Ephraim, Judge Karen Mills-Francis, and Recipe.tv stars Chef Edward Delling-Williams and Chef Lorna Maseko from Entertainment Studios were also in attendance.
Held at the posh Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, the bash’s purpose was to raise funds for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) all whilst guests enjoyed performances by Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson who sung a medley of their hit songs.
Comedian Jeff Ross roasted a handful of guests, who laughed in participation.
CHLA holds a special place in Allen’s heart, who recalls a harrowing incident where he became sick from a leg infection as a child and was admitted to the hospital free of charge. Despite his teenage mother not having enough money to pay for treatment, the hospital still provided him service and managed to save his leg from amputation.
Click to watch interview.
“When we moved here to Los Angeles, I was seven years old and we really couldn’t afford much of anything,” Allen says in an interview with Variety.
“And unfortunately, one day, I became very ill, and she took me to Children’s Hospital. They pretty much saved my life, and they certainly took me out of a bad situation. And they never charged my mother one penny. It’s something that I never forgot,” he says.
He views his annual gala as a way of reciprocating CHLA’s generosity. “And I’m just very happy and blessed,” Allen says. “I’m in a position to help them and give back to a lot of children at that hospital who are in need and who are fighting for their life.”
The CHLA is the nation’s leading academic medical center devoted to children and pediatric medical care in Los Angeles County. According to the U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of Best Children’s Hospitals for 2022-23, it’s one of the top 10 hospitals in the nation, serving children from all 50 states and over 90 countries.
Funding raised from the gala will go towards pediatric care continuum, preventive medicine, clinical services, world-renowned research programs, the development of new treatments and cures for childhood diseases, education and training programs, and complex surgical interventions, such as double organ transplants, Candie Davidson-Goldbronn, the Associate Senior Vice President of the Foundation at CHLA, says.
“Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is proud—and humbled—by the support of Byron Allen, [his wife, film and television producer] Jennifer Lucas, and other community partners and champions,” Davidson-Goldbronn says. “Philanthropy is the backbone of funding for many critical programs and services, and we are deeply grateful for the generous celebrity donors for their exceptional contributions and thoughtful advocacy.”
The CHLA serves 600,000 children annually.
Allen says he wants to inspire a new generation to give back through philanthropy while showcasing the prowess of Black tastemakers.
“I really want to amplify Black excellence,” Allen said. “Because the world works really hard to act like we don’t have it. We don’t bring it; we don’t deliver it. And sometimes we don’t exist. And so I really just wanted to have a space where [it’s clear]: No, no, you’re excellent. I see you. I appreciate you.”
Since its inception in 2017, Byron Allen’s Oscar Gala has raised millions for CHLA, including $1.5 million in 2020.
(Photo Credit: by Unique Nicole/Getty Images) / (Greg Doherty/Getty Images for Allen Media Group / Byron Allen) (Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for Allen Media Group / Byron Allen)