DuVernay, Wiley, Carter honored at GLAAD Media Awards

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GLAAD Media Award recipients were announced in the remainder of this year’s categories for the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards presented by Delta Air Lines, Gilead, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka, and Wells Fargo at the Hilton Midtown in New York on Saturday night.

Television personality Ross Mathews hosted the event that included an opening duet with Melissa Etheridge and Adam Lambert celebrating the 25th anniversary of her breakthrough album YES I AM by performing an unforgettable new arrangement of her song “I’m The Only One.” Special guests at the event included Robin Roberts, Laverne Cox, Alexis Bledel Lea Michele, Asia Kate Dillon, Nyle DiMarco, Angelica Ross, Blair Imani, Frankie Grande, Auli’i Cravalho, Janet Mock, Stephanie Rice, Tommy Dorfman, Amiyah Scott, Brad Goreski and Zeke Smith, among others.

At the event, celebrities sported blue “&” pins for GLAAD’s Together movement – representing GLAAD’s work on intersectional issues including immigration, racial justice, women’s rights, and LGBTQ acceptance. This subtle yet powerful symbol represents the power of solidarity and great accomplishments that occur when marginalized community groups – including women, Muslims, immigrants, and LGBTQ people – resist together.

“GLAAD is working to ensure the spirit of unity and intersectionality that was celebrated tonight extends throughout the year,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO. “Tonight’s award recipients are the front lines to ensuring that LGBTQ acceptance moves forward in a political and cultural climate that is working against us.”

At the ceremony, Ava DuVernay received GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award from surprise presenter Senator Cory Booker, who received a standing ovation when he entered the room. The Excellence in Media Award which is presented to media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people. Watch her acceptance speech below:

 

 

Also at the event, Alexis Bledel presented her co-star from The Handmaid’s Tale Samira Wiley with the Vito Russo Award, which is bestowed an openly LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting LGBTQ acceptance. The Award is named for Vito Russo, a founder of GLAAD and celebrated ACT UP activist, who pushed open the door for news and entertainment industries to include LGBTQ performers and stories.

In her electric speech, Wiley remarked that it had been 10 years since she came out to her parents. She also sent a powerful message of support to LGBTQ youth that brought the crowd to its feet: “You are loved. You have a community that is here for you. Is dedicated to protecting to you. And accepts you for exactly who you are, right in this moment.” Watch Wiley accept below:

 

 

Ms. Gloria Carter accepted a Special Recognition Award on behalf of her son, JAY-Z, for the song ‘Smile’ off of the album 4:44. The award was presented to her by Robin Roberts.

When she took to the podium, Carter shared her story, and told of the love and support she received from her family. She further said: “Love gave me the courage to take the power that I allowed other people to have over my life for fear of them revealing my secret.” Watch below:

 

 

Melissa Etheridge and Adam Lambert presented the award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release to Call Me By Your Name to Academy Award-winning screenwriter James Ivory and producer Peter Spears.

In his acceptance speech, Spears shared with the audience the importance of LGBTQ visibility and GLAAD’s work. He left the room with a powerful message: “In these challenging times, I keep thinking of the advice a friend gave me, something everyone gather here in this room shares in common – everyday, going forward, tell your stories of who you are and how you love, what you believe and what you learn along the way. Don’t be silenced. Refuse to be erased. It matters. We matter. Now more than ever.”

Asia Kate Dillon and Nyle DiMarco presented additional winners at the ceremony. Dillon said of the evening: “Tonight we’re here to celebrate art that creates empathy. Thanks to GLAAD – and to all of you – visibility for trans, non-binary and gender nonconforming people is increasing at a rapid rate. But there is still so much representation and visibility needed.”

Detroit Pistons player Reggie Bullock spoke at the event about his support for the LGBTQ community and his trans sister Mia, who was lost her life to fatal violence in 2014. Actresses Amiyah Scott (Star) and Angelica Ross (Pose) introduced Bullock and spoke about their own experiences as trans women of color.

“GLAAD is working to ensure the spirit of unity and intersectionality that was celebrated tonight extends throughout the year,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO. “Tonight’s award recipients are the front lines to ensuring that LGBTQ acceptance moves forward in a political and cultural climate that is working against us.”

To see a list of all winners, click here.

 
Contact Colin Costello at colin@reelchicago.com or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.

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