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‘Empire’ stars Trai Byers, Grace Gealey, other celebs spotted at UNCF Awards

Trai and Grace Gealy Empire stars

The 2015 UNCF “An Evening of Stars” event was held on April 12 at the Atlanta Civic Center. This was the second time the event was hosted in Atlanta. The annual show highlights the importance of minority education and Usher typically does it big for aspiring kids serious about their education. Anthony Anderson is truly the host with the most — jokes, that is. He makes any awards show worth sitting through. Spectacular musical performances is what you will enjoy the most when this show airs on April 26 on BET.

Sidra Smith and Jussie Smollett arrivalsJussie Smollett arrived with “Empire” recurring cast member Sidra Smith (despite rumors reporter earlier that he arrived with a significant other — false); Grace Gealey arrived with new boo, Trai Byers; Yolanda Adams; Grant Hill; Toni Braxton; Kem, Big Sean; Anthony Anderson; Mona Scott-Young; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; UNCF President Michael L. Lomax; and “Being MaryJane” star Thomas Jones were just a few of the celebrities who hit the red carpet at the UNCF Awards. Like with any red carpet show, there are typically many productions going on.

Toni Braxton and both her sons leaving the red carpet.This time the only TV production was Toni Braxton filming for WE tv’s “Braxton Family Values” and with good reason. Feast your eyes on the dress Toni was killing ’em with on the red carpet. It was a great night at the Braxton home, which you will find out why when you watch the show and learn which award she received.

Demetria McKinney and Roger Bobb headed to the UNCF awardsDemetria McKinney was present, and yep, she had the biggest smile on her face as Roger Bobb arrived holding hands with the R&B pop diva. The reporter from the “Insider” was truly the envy of all media as he was positioned on the red carpet to get the “good tea” from all the “good folks.” I was swarming around him like Kermit the Frog with my cup of tea trying to catch the latest news as well in celebrity land.

Grant Hill and Tamia arrivalsI wasn’t surprised to see Grant Hill and Tamia as they are one of the most genuine couples I know when it comes to philanthropy, fundraising and giving back. Alonzo Mourning and his wife are the second most genuine (just in case you were wondering). It was really great to see our mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed; join the president of the UNCF, Michael Lomax on the red carpet. In my opinion Trai Byers and Grace Gealey were the most “good looking” couple to arrive. Both new “Empire” stars were looking quite youthful and shining like new money. They had the most humble disposition; happily greeting  the media, conducting great, meaningful interviews and taking selfies! Not whisking past us like Big Sean some celebrities always do.

THomas Jones You may not recognize this man with all his clothes on. Hopefully, we’ll get to see him one last time tonight on the season finale of #BeingMaryJane. This former RB for the NY Jets is now actor Thomas Jones (pictured above), who plays the #cuttybuddy for Mary Jane, her next door neighbor.

Selfies with Kelliebrew and SmollettWhat’s a red carpet full of celebrities with no selfies, right? I loved it!

TOni Braxton and her son escaping the red carpetOne of the most beautiful things about hanging around afterward is catching the off red carpet action as well. Sometimes you get a better picture. Just when the celebrity thinks they are escaping out the back door — gotcha! Maybe Toni Braxton was leaving the red carpet to slide into something a little more comfortable. If this is how it looks to be 40-plus, then bring it on! She looks great, as did her handsome escorts, sons DJ and Denim.

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