Thursday, September 6, 2012

Emmy® Award-Winning Casting Director and Talent Executive Robi Reed Launches Reed For Hope Foundation

Robi Reed (center) with Kimberly Steward of The Kess Agency, event hosts Terrence J and Selita Ebanks, and C.O. Brown, Reed For Hope Foundation board member.

Annual end-of-summer celebration marked its 10th year with the launch of newly formed foundation

LOS ANGELES - Emmy®Award-winning casting director and talent executive Robi Reed held her legendary Labor Day weekend end-of-summer event, “Robi Reed’s 10th annual Sunshine Beyond Summer Celebration” - The Day Party With A Purpose, on Saturday, September 1, 2012 in the gardens of The Getty House, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles. As one of the most highly-coveted invites in the entertainment industry, Reed brought together a select, diverse group of about 400 influencers, ranging from Hollywood insiders and business executives to community leaders, close friends and associates for a fundraiser unlike any other.

The event was co-hosted by model Selita Ebanks, actor/host Terrence J (“Think Like A Man”) and actress/comedienne Kym Whitley (NBC’s “Animal Practice”). This year, Reed launched her non-profit organization, the Reed For Hope Foundation (RFHF), which aims to raise awareness, gather resources, and build alliances with other charities and organizations in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Actress/singer Keke Palmer and singer Sean Kingston were announced as the 2012-2013 RFHF Teen Awareness Initiative Ambassadors. Steve Pemberton, Chief Diversity Officer and Divisional Vice President for Walgreens and author of “A Chance In the World,” shared his new book with guests and announced a commitment to future support of RFHF and its programs.

In keeping with RFHF’s mission, Debra Fraser-Howze, Senior Vice President of Government and External Affairs at OraSure Technologies, introduced their new product, OraQuick, the first FDA-approved, in-home rapid HIV test to an enthusiastic response from the attendees. Ms. Fraser-Howze also presented Reed with a limited-edition commemorative crystal as a special gift to acknowledge her ten years of raising funds and awareness for the HIV/AIDS cause with her annual event.

Robi Reed, Kym Whitley, Debra Fraser-Howze of OraSure Technologies, Donald Lancaster, Esq. (RFHF Board Member), and Phill Wilson

Musical performances were provided by Grammy® Award-nominated singer Ledisi, NBC’s “The Voice” contestant Jamar Rogers, and the band, The Phat Cat Players. Guests danced to the sounds of DJ Vince Adams. Celebrities and notables in attendance included Sherri Shepherd, Kimberly Elise, Affion Crockett, Niecy Nash, Yvette Nicole Brown, Vanessa Bell Calloway, John Singleton, Keisha Whitaker, Rahsaan Patterson, Thomas Jones, Datari Turner, Vanessa Williams, Wesley Jonathan, Keith Robinson, Rochelle Aytes, Eva Marcille, Sheldon Candis, Tanya Wright, Christian Keyes, Kita Williams, Rolonda Watts, Freda Payne, Jennifer Williams, Aaron D. Spears, Quinton Aaron, Bresha Webb, Norwood Young, Tanya Young Williams, and Destinee Hooker, among others.

Ledisi performs at the event.

Robi Reed, Ledisi, Vanessa Williams and Norwood Young

The charitable beneficiary of the 2012 Sunshine Beyond Summer (SBS) Celebration was the Black AIDS Institute (BAI), which was presented with a special donation check at the event. BAI has partnered with the South African Coin Exchange, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and the Nobel Prize Foundation to raise funds to fight HIV/AIDS in the United States. Robi Reed was presented with a rare silver-plated Mandela coin and guests at the event were gifted with souvenir Mandela coins.

Ms. Reed honored the following individuals with the first-ever Sunshine Award for being a Beacon of Light in the Community: Phill Wilson (Black AIDS Institute), Debra Fraser-Howze (OraSure Technologies), Sonya Lockett (BET’s Rap-It-Up campaign), Jennifer Hopson (American Heart Association), Cynthia Carey-Grant (Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Disease), and the Honorable Judge Greg Mathis, an ardent supporter of Reed's annual event.

Jennifer Williams, Olympic volleyball player Destinee Hooker, Niecy Nash and Kita Williams

Datari Turner, Robi Reed and Wesley Jonathan

Tanya Young Williams, Rolonda Watts, Robi Reed and Vanessa Bell Calloway

John Singleton, Kimberly Elise, Destinee Hooker and C.O. Brown

“The Black AIDS Institute has been the charitable beneficiary of my annual end-of-summer event since the very beginning. Through the Reed For Hope Foundation, we are extending our fundraising campaign through September 15th and asking everyone to partner with us in charity, by donating at least one dollar to the campaign for the Black AIDS Institute. Together, we can make a difference,” said Reed.

The 2012 SBS Celebration was sponsored in part by The Kess Agency, OraSure Technologies (Donor of Distinction), and Nike. Honorary Host Committee members included Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, Hosea Chanchez, Rushion McDonald, Chris Rock, Mara and Salim Akil, James DuBose, Tony and Vanessa Calloway, Pastor Toure Roberts, Bishop Noel Jones, Ben Crump, Dr. Jasper Brewster, and Bernard Bronner. Event ground transportation was provided by Wings Limousine Service.

For more information about the SBS Celebration, visit

About Robi Reed

Robi Reed is an Emmy Award-winning casting director and producer, and has been a leader amongst casting directors in the motion picture and television industry for over twenty years. With more than 50 films to her credit, her rise to success as a casting director began with the film School Daze, written and directed by Spike Lee. She went on to work with the writer-director on subsequent projects, including Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, and Clockers. She cast Denzel Washington's directorial debut, Antwone Fisher, and Oprah Winfrey’s acclaimed ABC television movie, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Her most recent successes in film include Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls and I Can Do Bad All By Myself. She is currently Vice President of Talent and Casting for Original Programming at BET Networks, where she oversees all scripted and reality shows for the network.

About The Reed For Hope Foundation

The Reed For Hope Foundation (RFHF) aims to raise awareness, gather resources, and build alliances with other charities and organizations in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. RFHF will also support women’s and children’s health initiatives. For more information, to get involved or make a donation to RFHF, visit

Photo Credit: Arnold Turner/The Reed For Hope Foundation

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