LOS ANGELES – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), has announced it will honor Grammy Award-winning singer Ricky Martin and Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth at the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards.
Martin will receive the Vito Russo 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. Chenoweth, will receive the Vanguard Award at the Los Angeles event on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at the Westin Bonaventure.
GLAAD also announced that Andy Cohen, Bravo's Senior Vice President of Original Programming and host of Watch What Happens: Live will host the New York event. Additional honorees and special guests will be announced soon.
Nominees for the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards were announced last month. 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.
Singer Ricky Martin will receive the Vito Russo Award, which is named after one of GLAAD's founders, and is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for our community. Martin's 2010 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show is a nominee this year for the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Talk Show Episode. He was also featured in Spanish-Language media nominees for Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine, Outstanding Newspaper Article and two for Outstanding Magazine Article. After coming out via Twitter in March 2010, Martin spoke out for LGBT equality in English and Spanish-language media, sending messages of support to LGBT youth.
Through the music of his new album Musica+Alma+Sexo, the video for "The Best Thing About Me Is You," and his best-selling autobiography, Me, Martin has encouraged acceptance and understanding of all people. His humanitarian work extends beyond LGBT issues, having founded the Ricky Martin Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that advocates children's rights. Previous Vito Russo Award honorees include Cynthia Nixon, Suze Orman, Rosie O'Donnell, Alan Cumming, Nathan Lane, Elton John, Liz Smith, k.d. lang, David LaChapelle, Brian Graden, and Tom Ford.
"Ricky coming out was a game changer for many gay and transgender Latino children, who for too long, did not have many out gay people to look up to," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "Through his music, videos and interviews, Ricky has sent an important message that our community wants the same things all people do: an equal chance to raise our families and take care of our loved ones."
Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth will receive the Vanguard Award which is presented to media professionals who have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community. Chenoweth was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in Glee, which was named Outstanding Comedy Series at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards, and co-starred in Running With Scissors, nominated for Outstanding Film – Wide Release at the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. In May 2010, Chenoweth responded to a controversial Newsweek article which incorrectly asserted that gay actors 'cannot play straight roles.' She defended gay actors including Sean Hayes, her co-star in Promises, Promises, and called on Newsweek to "embrace stories which promote acceptance, love and unity." Chenoweth has demonstrated her devotion to LGBT equality by participating in the National Equality March in October 2009, speaking at the LGBT Community Center of New York as well as supporting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and GLSEN. She has also been honored with the Point Courage Award by the Point Foundation. Past recipients of the Vanguard Award include Drew Barrymore, Charlize Theron, Antonio Banderas, Sharon Stone, Eric McCormack, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Kathy Griffin and Whoopi Goldberg.
"When allies like Kristin take such powerful stands against anti-gay sentiments in the media, it sends an important message of equality," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "It is a privilege to honor such a talented and conscientious advocate for fairness towards the LGBT community."
The GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies will be held in New York on March 19, 2011 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square; in Los Angeles on April 10 at the Westin Bonaventure; and in San Francisco on May 14 at San Francisco Marriott Marquis.
The GLAAD Media Awards fund GLAAD's work to bring stories of LGBT people and issues to Americans. Each year, the GLAAD Media Awards in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco bring together more than 5,000 supporters to raise nearly $3.5 million for the organization's work.
More than 100 corporate partners are showing their support, including National Presenting corporate partner RÖKK Vodka, New York Presenting corporate partners American Airlines and Prudential and San Francisco Presenting corporate partner Southwest Airlines. GLAAD is also grateful to the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards Platinum Underwriter corporate partners: Anheuser-Busch, Inc., NBC Universal, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP and Time Warner, as well as Underwriter corporate partners: Allstate Insurance Company, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Bunim-Murray Productions, Comcast, Delta Air Lines, DLA Piper, Harrah's Foundation, Hyatt, MillerCoors, New York City Marriott & Renaissance Hotels, PricewaterhouseCoopers, UBS and VPI Pet Insurance.