Sunday night, GLAAD honored the media’s most outstanding images of the LGBT community at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York City. Advocates, allies and dozens of celebrities came together at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square to celebrate the people and stories that are changing hearts and minds.
Film producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan presented the Vito Russo Award to pop sensation Ricky Martin, whose coming out has had a huge impact on the Latino community where he has become a positive role model not only for LGBT youth but also to their parents. The Vito Russo Award, which is named after one of GLAAD’s founders, is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for our community.
The Reverend Al Sharpton presented legendary hip hop mogul Russell Simmons with the Excellence in Media Award. Simmons has repeatedly spoken out on issues of concern to the LGBT community, and has voiced his support for equality on issues ranging from marriage equality to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. The Excellence in Media Award is presented to media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Other winners included NBC’s “30 Rock” (accepted by Tina Fey), which took home the GLAAD Media Award in the “Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character)” category; HBO’s “True Blood,” which took home the GLAAD Media Award in the “Outstanding Drama Series” category; and Essence.com, which took home the award in the “Outstanding Digital Journalism – Multimedia” category.
An especially poignant moment came when 17-year-old Nikki Peet joined host Andy Cohen on stage to talk about her work with GLAAD. Peet attracted national media attention this year after her Corpus Christi high school banned all extracurricular activities rather than let Peet form a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).
Video clips from the New York ceremonies will be posted to GLAAD Blog in the coming days.
The GLAAD Media Awards series will continue in Los Angeles on April 10, 2011, where GLAAD will honor Broadway legend Kristin Chenoweth with the Vanguard Award and NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, among several others.
The final ceremony will take place in San Francisco on May 14, 2011, at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.
The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives. GLAAD Media Award nominees were published, released or broadcast between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010.
To receive the latest updates on the GLAAD Media Awards, follow @glaad on Twitter and use the hashtag #glaadawards.