GLAAD honors Keith Olbermann, Tyra Banks and Phil Donahue and others at NYC event
It looks like the GLAAD Media Awards in New York City on Saturday night was quite a bash.
I wasn’t there but I do plan to be at the Los Angeles ceremony on April 18. GLAAD was kind enough to provide Greg In Hollywood with some photos and quotes from the NYC event.
It had a stellar group of honorees and presenters including the great Phil Donahue, two-time Tony winner Cherry Jones who is now on 24, a newly out and proud Clay Aiken, the out for years now T.R. Knight, the never been out because she’s not gay Tyra Banks and the only out on television Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann – Luke and Noah of As the World Turns.
But I want to start with Keith Olbermann, the winner Outstanding TV Journalism Segment for “Special Comment: Gay Marriage is a Question of Love” Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. His post-Prop. 8 commentary was among the most moving things I’d ever heard on the subject. He’s a straight ally who was talking common sense and simply asking those who are so staunchly against gay marriage: “Why do you care? What is it to you?”
At the ceremony, Clay Aiken presented the Excellence in Media Award to Tyra Banks, who was honored for showing a strong commitment to educating the public about the lives of gay and transgender people on her talk show, The Tyra Banks Show, and on her reality series, America’s Next Top Model.
“[The LGBT community] empowered me,” Banks said in her acceptance speech. “And in turn, when I finally had a platform, and a power, and a voice – no longer just a face, but a voice – to get across the points and the messages that were important to me, I brought you along with me. Because you embraced me and now I embrace you in front of millions to show how beautiful you are, how absolutely amazing you are, how giving you are. And I will continue to do that as long as I have a platform. I will continue to get the message out about gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.”
Also at the event, actor T.R. Knight presented the Vito Russo Award to Suze Orman, personal finance expert and host of CNBC’s The Suze Orman Show. The Vito Russo Award is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for the LGBT community.
“I want every single one of you in this room to take note of what corporations put their time and money behind gays, behind lesbians – behind you,” Orman said accepting her award. “Do you want to continue to give your money to people in corporations that oppress us, that keep us down? Or do you want to give your money to the corporations who can help us rise and change what needs to be changed in the United States of America today.” Orman continued, “I ask you to honor those corporations not only with your support but with your money as well. We can do this – and here’s how you’re going to do it. You are going to think about every single penny you spend from this day forward. And the only think I ask of you is to spend it and invest it in those companies that invest in you.”
Cherry Jones presented a Special Recognition Award to Phil Donahue, who was the honoree at the first GLAAD Media Awards in 1990.
“It’s unbelievable to think about the power and the warp speed of this revolution,” Donahue said during his acceptance. “Twenty years ago when I proudly accepted the first GLAAD Media Award…it was a very small crowd. There are more photographers here tonight than there were people then…. And now, we look up in 2009, and [the LGBT community] is popular. The majority of the people in the nation agree with us. Our job now is to summon these people to stand up and say so out loud. To tell them to join us. To march the lavender line with us down Fifth Avenue, and to remind them, when they do join us, they’re going to meet a lot of nice people.”
Comedian Kate Clinton hosted the show, and singer Jennifer Holliday performed for the capacity crowd. Other guests and presenters at the event included: Chris Noth; Ana Ortiz and Michael Urie (Ugly Betty); Jonathan Adler, Simon Doonan (Top Design); Daniel Sunjata; Heather Matarazzo; Tim Gunn, Christian Siriano (Project Runway); Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann (As the World Turns); Hannah Storm; Jane Velez-Mitchell; Jasika Nicole; Jay Manuel; Jenny Shimizu; Brad Boles; Jack Mackenroth; DeMarco Majors; Tarell Alvin McCraney; Joshua Cruz; Michelle Clunie; New York State Senator Eric Schneiderman; David Mixner; and former GLAAD Executive Director, Joan Garry.