The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation’s lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today announced it will honor pioneering entrepreneur and philanthropist Russell Simmons and Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of Entertainment at NBC, at the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards presented by RÖKK Vodka.
Simmons will receive the Excellence in Media Award at the New York award ceremony on Saturday, March 19, 2011, presented locally by American Airlines and Prudential at the Marriott Marquis Times Square. Greenblatt will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the Los Angeles event on Sunday, April 10, 2011, presented locally by Wells Fargo at the Westin Bonaventure.
GLAAD previously announced that Grammy Award-winning singer Ricky Martin would receive the Vito Russo Award in New York and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth would receive the Vanguard Award in Los Angeles. Andy Cohen, Bravo’s Executive Vice President of Original Programming and host of “Watch What Happens: Live” will host the New York event. Special guests for the New York event include Wilson Cruz, Tina Fey, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Brent Ridge and Jane Velez-Mitchell. Special guests for the Los Angeles event include Chris Colfer, Kirsten Dunst, Omar Epps, Colin Farrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sean Hayes, Mike O’Malley, Shay Mitchell and Jill Zarin. Honorees for the San Francisco event on May 14, 2011, presented locally by Southwest at the Marriott Marquis, along with additional special guests for all cities will be announced soon.
Nominees for the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards were announced earlier this year and are available here. 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.
In 2011, the GLAAD Media Awards will also celebrate GLAAD’s 25th anniversary year, looking back at a quarter-century of work to build acceptance and advance equality through LGBT images in the media.
Pioneering entrepreneur and philanthropist Russell Simmons will receive the Excellence in Media Award, presented to media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community. As the co-founder of the iconic hip-hop record label Def Jam Recordings, Simmons has been a key figure in making hip-hop a mainstream cultural phenomenon, and has co-founded non-profit organizations such as the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and the Diamond Empowerment Fund. Through the organizations and his own efforts, Simmons has tackled problems like inner city poverty, voter registration among youth, HIV/AIDS awareness, animal rights and full equality for LGBT people. Simmons has repeatedly spoken out on issues of concern to the LGBT community and continues to urge Americans to support full equality. In 2009, Simmons wrote an open letter to Governor David Paterson of New York urging him to continue supporting marriage equality in the Empire State and in 2010, Simmons penned an open letter to the United States Senate, urging the body to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Past recipients include Tyra Banks, Julianne Moore, Diane Sawyer, Glenn Close, Billy Crystal, Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Redgrave, Joy Behar, and Phil Donahue.
“Whether speaking out against the unfair nature of California’s anti-gay Proposition 8 or advocating for the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Russell Simmons has become a critical ally who inspires diverse communities across the country to support equality,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “As a cultural icon, Simmons’ steadfast support of our community has also encouraged countless gay and transgender people of color to be proud of who they are.”
Golden Globe and Producers Guild Award-winner Robert Greenblatt will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award which is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for our community. As an openly gay producer in Hollywood, Greenblatt has brought diverse, multi-dimensional LGBT characters to homes across America. Among his early works he produced the 1999 ABC sitcom “Oh, Grow Up” about a recently out gay man living with his two straight friends. He also produced the critically acclaimed drama “Six Feet Under” for HBO, which received multiple GLAAD Media Awards for Outstanding Drama Series. As Showtime’s President of Entertainment, he aired many shows with LGBT characters, including the GLAAD Media Awards-winning series “The L Word” as well as “Nurse Jackie” and “United States of Tara,” which are nominated for a GLAAD Media Award this year. In January, Showtime premiered “Shameless,” which includes Ian, a gay teen having an affair with his older boss. Greenblatt continues his producing success this year by stepping in as the Chairman of Entertainment at NBC. Previous Stephen F. Kolzak honorees include Wanda Sykes, Rufus Wainwright, Melissa Etheridge, Bill Condon, Todd Haynes, Alan Ball, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sir Ian McKellen.
“From Keith & David’s family on ‘Six Feet Under,’ Bette & Tina’s romance on ‘The L Word’ to Marshall and Ian’s coming out stories on ‘United States of Tara’ and ‘Shameless,’ Robert Greenblatt has brought groundbreaking stories about gay and transgender people to Americans that have shattered stereotypes,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “By including stories of our community on some of America’s most talked-about shows, he has been instrumental in opening the door for so many of the current gay and transgender storylines that are continuing to advance equality.”