Allen Media Group founder, chairman and CEO Byron Allen brought together Oscar night glitz and glamour for good with a little help from legendary singer Diana Ross Sunday night.
It was a supreme affair for the philanthropic media mogul whose annual gala returned for a fifth year to the Beverly Wilshire to benefit Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
The host, standing beside his family, welcomed a bevy of luminaries to the lavish gathering, including Smokey Robinson, Vivica A. Fox, Jeff Ross, Garcelle Beauvais, Adam Carolla, Candy Spelling and Johnell Young to the event, which all started as a way for Allen to give back to the organization that rescued him as a child.
“My mother got pregnant with me when she was 16. And she had me 17 days after her 17th birthday. When we moved here to Los Angeles, I was seven years old, and we really couldn’t afford much of anything,” he told Variety on the red carpet. “I slept on quite a few slow sofas when we got here. 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. And I’m just very happy and blessed. 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 undeniable impact of the night was felt throughout the celebration where hundreds of guests assembled to view the Academy Awards. Dining on a duet of rosemary lemon chicken and Chilean sea bass, the well-dressed group cheered on nominees over at the Dolby Theatre. As Hollywood handed out the coveted golden statues, the crowd in the ballroom was thrilled to see the night’s big winners illuminating on jumbo screens. Rounds and rounds of applause echoed throughout the room as milestone moments happened before them.
Oscar history was witnessed by guests, who cried happy tears as great talents from underrepresented communities triumphed. The “Everything Everywhere All at Once” wins had partygoers standing up from their plates and up on their feet clapping.
Michelle Yeoh’s Academy Award speech especially touched many in the room who were seen whipping away happy tears.
“For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities,” Yeoh said during the telecast. “This is proof that dreams do come true. And ladies, don’t let anybody tell you that you are ever past your prime. Never give up.”
Ruth E. Carter’s “Wakanda Forever” costume conquest was equally touching to attendees, as was Ke Huy Quan’s win for supporting actor.
“It’s amazing. I mean, Michelle Yeoh is creating a legacy for the Asian community,” Garcelle Beauvais said earlier on the carpet. “I think that’s what we need. We need everybody at the table. It’s lovely to see the diversity at the Oscars today.”
When the Academy Awards were complete, Allen joined Howie Mandel for an auction that saw money going toward CHLA, which is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers devoted to children and the top provider of pediatric medical care in Los Angeles County.
Just when the night seemed to calm down, the iconic Ross entered and brought her bright star and signature style of sequences and layers of ruffled tulle to center stage. The beloved Motown wonder’s crowd-pleasing numbers took the crowd on an elevated after-party high as she belted out “I’m Coming Out,” “Love Hangover” and “Ease on Down the Road.”
The magic of movies and music kept the energy high until late in the evening as the singer’s nonstop show had women kicking off their high heels and hoisting themselves up on chairs to dance the night away.
Ross ended the riveting evening with a performance of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and a shoutout to the audience full of the similar joy that was found all throughout Hollywood on Oscar night. Smiling down from the spotlight, the singer pulled the microphone close and paused before screaming out, “Follow your dreams!”