Black-ish star Anthony Anderson is known for his leading roles and comedic chops now, but before he was living a life of fame and fortune he was experiencing the same struggles that so many college students have to face—the seemingly impossible task of paying for their education. Now he’s teaming up with the United Negro College Fund and a collection of other stars to give more than two dozen students the chance to focus on school instead of student loans and growing debt.
While going to college is a part of the American dream, it is too often that hard-working students are cheated out of a secondary education simply because they can’t afford it.
“My parents couldn’t afford sending me to school, so I understand firsthand,” Anderson said, according to Fox News.
Anderson had a scholarship to attend Howard and yet the school’s costs still towered over him like an ominous dark cloud.
Like many others, Anderson doesn’t want to see other young urban students missing out on the opportunity to continue their education simply because, in America, college has become a luxury for the few rather than a right for the many.
“We’re here to help alleviate the burden off their shoulders,” Anderson added.
Anderson and a collection of other celebrities celebrated a group of 20 students who have demonstrated their passion, hard work and dedication to education by granting them $500,000 in scholarships.
“Students won’t have to worry about their next meal, or pay for next semester of housing,” Anderson said. “The only thing they have to do is open a book and study.”
Other celebrities who donated to the worthy cause include hip hop star Big Sean, comedian Kevin Hart, super producer Pharrell Williams, R&B crooner and Tidal co-owner Usher and Los Angeles Clippers baller Chris Paul.
Some of the stars created pre-recorded messages for the students while others, like Big Sean, attended the special show to perform.
The star-studded charity event didn’t just help students currently in college either.
Anderson, with the help of R&B/hip hop stars Ronnie DeVoe and Bell Biv DeVoe, helped to pay off one HBCU graduate’s remaining student loan debt.
It’s an amount that totaled up to more than $11,000.
Anderson hopes that relief of that financial burden will help the current and former students focus on their education and careers and “thrive like everyone else.”
“We have brilliant minds in the ghetto and inner city, but we’re not always afforded the opportunity to let those brilliant minds flourish,” Anderson continued. “With the UNCF, that’s what we are allowing them to do.”
The show, “An Evening of Stars,” was pre-recorded and will air on BET on Sunday evening.