Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: 25th Annual James Stephens III Scholarship Foundation Gala in Florence, SC

I’m in Florence, SC with fellow Power Player Lorey Hayes, to attend the 25th annual James Stephens III Scholarship Foundation Gala tonight at the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center.

Comedian James Stephens III, Power Play actress and playwright Lorey Hayes and Dr. Marnell Alexis Stephens, president, MacCormac College at the James Stephens III Scholarship Foundation Gala vip reception at the Hilton Garden Inn in Florence, SC on May 3, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Comedian James Stephens III, Power Play actress and playwright Lorey Hayes and Dr. Marnell Alexis Stephens, president, MacCormac College at the James Stephens III Scholarship Foundation Gala vip reception at the Hilton Garden Inn in Florence, SC on May 3, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang


James Stephens III grew up in Dillon but left the area to attend college, and make a name for himself in the entertainment field. Stephens, a well-known comedian and impersonator who works in Las Vegas, other entertainment venues, and on cruise ships around the country, and Hayes, an actress and playwright, have been friends for more than 25 years.
Comedian James Stephens III. Photo by Lia Chang

Comedian James Stephens III. Photo by Lia Chang


Twenty-five years ago, Stephens decided he wanted to give back and help kids from his hometown region, and beyond, and began hosting his annual scholarship gala. I’ll be on the red carpet tonight to interview the dozens of deserving kids who will be receiving scholarships and laptops this year. Since 1990, more than 90 kids in North and South Carolina have received scholarships.

Steadman Graham, the Chicago-based entrepreneur, educator and life partner of Oprah Winfrey, is the recipient of this year’s lifetime achievement award.

Tommy Ford will host the 2013 gala, which will feature performances by an array of musical and comedic talent, including R& B star Robert “Peabo” Bryson, the Greenville, S.C. native best known for his Grammy-winning duets for the animated Disney features “Beauty and the Beast” (with Celine Dion) and “Aladdin” (with Regina Belle), will headline the show.

Other celebrities who will be on hand include Lucille O’Neal (Shaquille O’Neal’s mom), comedian Billy Dee Washington, the Miami Dolphins’ Arturo Freeman, comedian Colin Quinn, comedian Damon Kinney and actor Sam Schreiber (Sam Schreiber).

Comedian James Stephens III, Lia Chang and actor Sam Schreiber at the James Stephens III Scholarship Foundation Gala vip reception at the Hilton Garden Inn in Florence, SC on May 3, 2013. Photo by Lorey Hayes

Comedian James Stephens III, Lia Chang and actor Sam Schreiber at the James Stephens III Scholarship Foundation Gala vip reception at the Hilton Garden Inn in Florence, SC on May 3, 2013. Photo by Lorey Hayes


Tickets for the gala begin at $50 and can be purchased through the foundation’s website.
Scholarships through the James Stephens III Foundation are available to high school students in the Pee Dee who wish to continue their education and are in good standing at their school. For more details and an application, check out the foundation website at www.thejamesstephensfoundation.org.

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. She recently appeared in Lorey Hayes’ POWER PLAY.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Harlem Nights with Lorey Hayes, Actress, Director and Award-Winning Playwright of Power Play and Massinissa
Photos: Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Ruby Dee, Denise Burse, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Micki Grant, George Faison, Constance C.R. White, Will Calhoun and More at Lorey Hayes’ POWER PLAY
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2012 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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