ATLANTA — It was the rarest of sites at the 32nd United Negro College Fund Mayor’s Masked Ball 2015: Mayor Kasim Reed, the lawyer and former state senator and current two-term mayor of a major metropolis, yet still humble enough to pay homage to a legendary lion from the Civil Rights era, Ambassador Andrew Young, by taking a cellphone photo while both were at the black-tie exclusive soiree at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta.
That spirit of love and camaraderie swirled throughout the ballroom in the the event billed as the largest single-night fundraising for the education-based organization. The UNCF is the largest entity in the country that raises money for students to attend historically black colleges and universities.
Dr. Michael Lomax, President and CEO of the UNCF, was on hand along with presidents of local HBCUs along with executives from Fortune 500 companies.
A phalanx of celebrities were liberally sprinkled throughout the cavernous hall, including Ambassador Andrew Young, Hall of Fame home run king Hank Aaron and his wife Billye, comedic actor Chris Tucker and soul crooner Johnny Gill, who was full throttle as he electrified the urban sophisticates in attendance by performing some of most recent and greatest hits.
Also in the house were the likes of former NBA All-Star Grant Hill and wife, R&B star Tamia, actress Demetria McKinney, producer Roger Bobb, Olympic track & field legend Edwin Moses, comedian George Wallace, “Real Housewives of Atlanta’s” Kim Fields and husband Chris Morgan, “Married to Medicine’s” Dr. Heavenly Kimes and Toya Bush Harris, fashion aficionado Dwight Eubanks and many others.
The 2014 Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball reportedly took in $1 million, Reed proudly announced, and he hopes to procure at least that much with this year’s celebration. Socialite and community jewel Billye Aaron, a co-founder of the Mayor’s Masked Ball along with Ambassador Young, is working to raise that amount on her own.
The honorary co-chairs of this year’s gala were Shan Cooper, the vice president and general manager at Marietta of Lockheed- Martin Aeronautics Company in suburban Atlanta, and Jack Sawyer, president of the Southeast region of Wilmington Trust.
The Mayor’s Masked Ball, which began in 1983, is the creation of Billye Aaron and Ambassador Andrew Young. This year’s marquee sponsors are The Coca Cola Co., Delta Air Lines and UPS.
Check out the photographic highlights from the 2016 Mayor’s Masked Ball in Atlanta.