You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Kate Hudson, Conan O’Brien Attend Children’s Defense Fund Gala: ‘Some of You Literally Dodged Fire to Get Here’

Despite the chaos caused by this week’s uproar of Los Angeles fires, Hollywood and the California board of the Children’s Defense Fund still came together at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel to honor five high school students who have overcome adversity in their personal lives, and excelled both inside and outside the classroom.

The 27th annual Beat the Odds Award ceremony was hosted by Conan O’Brien, who was joined by Alfre Woodard, Kate Hudson, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, and others to honor the outstanding students. $10,000 worth of scholarships were awarded to the scholars for their excellence. 

“The fact that some of you literally dodged fire to get here is testament goes to this great cause, and the five young people we honor tonight,” O’Brien said in his opening remarks.

Early in the evening, Children’s Fund president Marian Wright Edelman took the stage to discuss the necessity of maintaining progress that has been made regarding impoverished children in the United States, specifically citing work that Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. did to help end poverty.  

“This is not a good time, this is an absolutely evil time,” Edelman solemnly shared about the administration’s lack of progress on poverty and child hunger. “But we’re going to cover up that evil with good… we’re not going to go backwards.”

Each student’s story was narrated through a short documentary-style film, depicting a variety of traumatic situations including health issues, abuse, and poverty.

Hudson introduced honoree Ana-Mariana Sotomayor Palomino, who developed a speech impediment as a young child after she and her family spent years with an abusive father. Now living solely with her mother and sister — whose combined annual income is less than $15,000 Palomino is determined to be the first person in her family to go to college.

Smollett-Bell spoke about Ja’Nay Carter, who took on the role of a parent to her siblings after her mother died and her father was in prison.

Contributions from the event went toward college prep events, SAT and ACT course prep, scholarships, and more. Kevin NealonGabourey Sidibe, Chiké Okonkwo, and Jussie Smollett were also in attendance.

More Scene

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Tina KnowlesSoul of Nation: Art in

    Jay-Z, Tina Knowles Celebrate New 'Soul of a Nation' Exhibit at Broad Museum

    “This show is so important. I mean, it’s our history — and it’s a very important part of our journey,” Tina Knowles Lawson said about Friday night’s opening of the exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963 – 1983” at the Broad Museum in DTLA. “I’m just so impressed [...]

  • Jordan Peele'Us' film premiere, Arrivals, New

    Jordan Peele Explains the Meaning Behind the 'Us' Michael Jackson Reference

    Jordan Peele’s horror movie “Us” is filled with pop culture references, from “Jaws” to “Goonies.” But the most divisive might be right in his opening sequence. Warning, minor spoilers ahead. The movie about a couple (played by Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke) and their children being hunted and brutalized by a mysterious family that looks just [...]

  • Danielle Brooks'Ain't Too Proud - The

    How 'Orange Is the New Black' Star Danielle Brooks Became a Broadway Producer

    Danielle Brooks earned a Tony nomination when she made her Broadway debut as Sofia in the 2015 revival of “The Color Purple,” but now the “Orange Is the New Black” star is working behind the scenes as a producer on the new jukebox musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations.” “I [...]

  • Nick Offerman Amy Poehler

    'Parks and Recreation' Cast Talks Possibility of a Revival at 10th Anniversary Reunion

    For one night, Hollywood felt a little like Pawnee. The cast of NBC’s hit comedy “Parks and Recreation” reunited at PaleyFest on Thursday in honor of the show’s 10th anniversary. The whole Pawnee gang showed up: Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Retta, and Jim [...]

  • Andy CohenThe Shops and Restaurants at

    Andy Cohen to Receive Vito Russo Award at GLAAD Media Awards

    Mazel, Andy Cohen! Bravo’s late-night talk show host is set to receive the Vito Russo Award at the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 4 in New York City. Sarah Jessica Parker will present him with the award, which is named in honor of GLAAD founder Vito Russo. The annual award goes to openly [...]

  • Variety TV Summit Europe

    Variety TV Summit Europe Coming to London on June 13

    Variety’s TV Summit Europe will coincide with London Tech Week this year, returning to the city on June 13. The international conference will be held at the Royal Lancaster and is co-produced by global events company Informa’s KNect365 division, the world’s largest business-to-business organizer. The one-day summit will focus on the intersection of content and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content