GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, honored Ava DuVernay, Samira Wiley, and outstanding LGBTQ images in film and television at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives.
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 ceremony, 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 is presented to media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people.
During her speech, DuVernay powerfully stated: “People ask me a lot about being an activist and an artist. To me they are one in the same. To be an activist – one must be highly creative. It takes great imagination to envision a world and a way of being that is not there. That’s the same definition of art, to me. When I look at the many warriors who have to apply this art, this imagination to their very lives as LGBTQ people, to just survive in this country, I stand in salute. And I feel honored to be able to share some of these stories in the films and TV I make and in the films I distribute.”
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.”
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.”
Etheridge and 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.”
Following is a complete list of GLAAD Media Awards presented on stage, and the individuals that accepted the trophies:
- Excellence in Media Award: Ava DuVernay [presented by: Senator Cory Booker]
- Vito Russo Award: Samira Wiley [presented by Alexis Bledel]
- Special Recognition Award: “Smile” by Jay-Z featuring Gloria Carter, 4:44 [accepted by Ms. Gloria Carter]
- Outstanding Film – Wide Release: Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics) [accepted by Academy Award-winning screenwriter James Ivory and producer Peter Spears]
The following is a list of other award recipients announced at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York:
- Outstanding Documentary: Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric (National Geographic)
- Outstanding Reality Program: Survivor: Game Changers (CBS)
- Outstanding Talk Show Episode: “Australian Marriage Equality” Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
- Outstanding Music Artist: Halsey, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
- Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine: “The Pulse of Orlando: Terror at the Nightclub” Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN)
- Outstanding TV Journalism Segment: “Murders Raise Alarm for Transgender Community” NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (NBC)
- Outstanding Newspaper Article: “The Silent Epidemic: Black Gay Men and HIV” by Gracie Bonds Staples (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Outstanding Magazine Article: “Forbidden Lives: The Gay Men Who Fled Chechnya’s Purge” by Masha Gessen (The New Yorker)
- Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage: Billboard
- Outstanding Digital Journalism – Multimedia: “’This Is How We Win’: Inside Danica Roem’s Historic Victory” by Diana Tourjée (Broadly.Vice.com)
Spanish-Language Award Recipients:
- Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine: “Pulse, Huellas de la Masacre” Docufilms (CNN en Español)
- Outstanding TV Journalism Segment: “Comunidad LGBTQ Vulnerable Bajo Nuevo Gobierno” Perspectiva Nacional (Entravision)
GLAAD previously announced that the short animated short film In A Heartbeat would receive a Special Recognition Award.
Several award recipients were previously announced at the Los Angeles event on April 12:
- Vanguard Award: Britney Spears
- Stephen F. Kolzak Award: Jim Parsons
- Outstanding Drama Series: This Is Us (NBC) [accepted by: Denis O’Hare; presented by Rachel Bloom and Ben Feldman]
- Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBTQ character): “Thanksgiving” Master of None (Netflix) [accepted by Lena Waithe; presented by Halle Berry]
- Outstanding Kids & Family Programming winner: Andi Mack (Disney Channel)
- Outstanding Comedy Series: Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX) [accepted by: Chelsea Peretti, Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Fumero, and producer Dan Goor; presented by Chloe Grace Moretz and Tom Payne]
- Outstanding Film – Limited Release: A Fantastic Woman (Sony Pictures Classics)
- Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series: When We Rise (ABC)
- Outstanding Comic Book: Black Panther: World of Wakanda (Marvel Comics)
- Outstanding Daily Drama: The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS)
- Outstanding Digital Journalism Article: “Why Bisexual Men Are Still Fighting to Convince Us They Exist” by Samantha Allen (Splinter)
- Outstanding Blog: TransGriot (transgriot.blogspot.com)
Spanish-Language Award Recipients
- Outstanding Scripted Television Series: Las Chicas Del Cable (Netflix)
- Outstanding Digital Journalism: “Tres Hemanitos Para Dos Papás” por Jacqueline García (laopinion.com)
Special guests included: Ellie Desautels (Rise), Justin Tranter (songwriter, GLAAD Board Member), Esteban Bravo (writer/director, In A Heartbeat), Beth David (writer/director, In A Heartbeat), Joshua Rush (Andi Mack), Janet Mock (Pose), Hailie Sahar (Pose), Dyllón Burnside (Pose), Mj Rodriguez (Pose), Ryan Jamaal Swain (Pose), Angel Bismark Curiel (Pose), Johnny Sibilly (Pose), Jack Mizrahi (Pose), Freddie Pendavis (Pose), Michael Roberson (Pose), Sol Williams (Pose), Hector Xtravaganza (Pose), Wrabel (musicianFrankie Grande (television personality), Jackie Evancho (singer), Stephanie Rice (singer), Brian Michael (Queen Sugar), Carlos Brandt (influencer), Raymond Braun (influencer), Juliet Evancho (activist), Nico Tortorella (Younger), Hannah Hart (internet personality), Gigi Gorgeous (internet personality), Dina Marie Delicious (model), Nats Getty (activist), Marti Gould Cummings (activist), Eliel Cruz (activist), Logan Fletcher (influencer), Gianna Toboni (VICE on HBO), Yamiche Alcindor (journalist), Baruch Shemtov (journalist), and Dre Barone (NHL), and others.