Yara Shahidi Honored at CARRY Benefit Brunch: "I Wouldn't Be Surprised If She's President Very Soon"

Andrew Toth/Getty Images for The Mark Hotel
Yara Shahidi earlier this year

The nonprofit benefits foster kids by providing enrichment programs, scholarships and dermatological services.

Yara Shahidi and her family were honored at the CARRY (Coalition for At-Risk-Restoring Youth) Sunday benefit brunch, but the Grown-ish actress was unable to attend due to her busy school schedule.

“She’s close to finals, and they’re having a class on a Sunday," her mother, Keri Shahidi, explained as she accepted the Uplift Award on behalf of her family.

The jazz brunch, which took place at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, benefited programs supporting foster kids in the greater Los Angeles area. CARRY was founded by dermatologist Dr. Pearl Grimes in 2005 and aims to provide at-risk youth with scholarships, social skills and dermatological services.

Before the doors opened for brunch, guests were packed tightly together and mingling in an adjacent room, which housed silent auction items such as a signed Stan Lee collage and various clutch purses. Many guests excitedly waved Grimes over for a picture.

“As a dermatologist, treating skin was such low-hanging fruit, and moreover skin is so important,” Grimes told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s visible, and it impacts self-esteem. Skin conditions can be more devastating than underlying systemic diseases.”

R&B singer Thelma Houston, who arrived just before noon, echoed Grimes’ sentiments about the importance of CARRY’s mission.

“I know that for teenagers, they’re trying to go out and face all the things that we have going on now, with media and everything,” she told THR. ”If they feel good about how they look, then that gives them confidence to go out and do great things.”

Though Shahidi, who is currently studying at Harvard University, couldn’t make the event, she still sent in a recorded speech: “Everyone in our generation is worthy of the opportunities, and worthy of the resources and support necessary to thrive,” she said.

Another one of Shahidi’s family members was in attendance as well. Jenifer Lewis, who plays Shahidi’s grandmother Ruby Johnson on Black-ish, gushed over her former co-star.

“She’s amazing, I mean come on, she’s one of the most intelligent, young millennials we have, one of the most beautiful, one of the most talented, she’s everything,” she told THR. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s president, very soon.”

The other honorees of the night were Togetta Ulmer, who received the Humanitarian Award, as well as former California representative Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and her husband, Dr. William Burke, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Guests chatted over mimosas and helpings of food from the brunch buffet. Actress and television personality Rolonda Watts hosted the ceremony and spoke about having two parents who were both foster kids.

“I know that they were very successful people, my parents, and I know that came from the love of the people who adopted them,” Watts said.

The event ended with a musical performance by one of the kids impacted by CARRY, who sang accompanied by the Adam Aejay’e Jackson & Friends Jazz Ensemble.