*LOS ANGELES — In the spirit of awards season, the Better Brothers Los Angeles (BBLA) in association with award-winning actress/activist Sheryl Lee Ralph and her non-profit organization, The DIVA Foundation, feted African Americans in the LGBTQ+ community at the fifth annual Truth Awards.
The Truth Awards was held on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at the Taglyan Cultural Complex in Los Angeles. Actress Angela Robinson of Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and Have Nots” on OWN returned as this year’s host. Plus, there was a special musical performance by R&B singer/songwriter Tweet. Interestingly, this year’s honorees included a Golden Globe and three Emmy Award winners.
The black-tie affair honored African-American, trailblazing men and women whose personal and professional accomplishments have positively impacted the perception and image of the Black LGBTQ+ community. The Truth Awards embodies the belief that members of the Black LGBTQ+ community and its allies who embrace and live their truth should be recognized and honored. In addition, BBLA awarded $13,000 in scholarships to college-bound students Julian Roberson, Algernon Jackson, and Moses Hinton.
No envelopes were needed because all the names called that night were winners. One by one, the honorees took the stage and shared “their truth,” trials and tribulations of being Black, gay in America. They also talked about the importance of being honored by their “own” community for their accomplishments.
A Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner, Anthony Hemingway received a History Maker Award for his work in film and television. A cutting-edge creative, Hemingway became the youngest second assistant director (A.D.) at the age of 19 and the youngest first A.D. at age 22, respectively, in the history of the Directors Guild of America (DGA). He quickly rose through the ranks, eventually achieving his directorial debut with the universally, critically-acclaimed fourth season of “The Wire” on HBO.
Since then, Hemingway’s work is in constant demand, directing and telling stories to some of our favorite shows on network and cable TV, including “Unsolved: the Murder of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.,” “The Purge,” “Underground,” “Power,” “The Newsroom,” “ER,” “Empire,” “Glee,” “Orange Is the New Black,” and “American Horror Story” – and the list goes on. In 2016, he directed and co-executive produced the award-winning FX hit series, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” which garnered him a plethora of awards, including an Emmy® Award for “Outstanding Limited Series,” as well as a Golden Globe and NAACP Image Award for “Best Miniseries or Television Film,” and an Emmy nomination in the “Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or a Dramatic Special” category. In 2018, Hemingway launched his eponymous production shingle Anthony Hemingway Productions (AHP). Under his AHP banner, Hemingway will helm the college football drama film “Work Horses” for Amazon Studios, alongside Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard, and others. He is currently in prep on the ABC reboot of “New York Undercover” with Dick Wolf, where he will direct the pilot and serve as an executive producer, coming full circle, as he was a set production assistant on the series in the early1990s.
Alongside Hemingway, the Truth Awards honored founder and former president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute (BAI), Phill Wilson with a Lifetime Achievement Award; three-time Emmy-winning writer, director and producer Tajamika “Taj” Paxton with a Media & Arts Award; Emmy-winning host Karamo Brown of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” with a Culture & Arts Award; viral sensation and food critic Kalen Allen with the Social Influencer Award; Eric Jones, a three-time Emmy Award-winning entertainment booker and producer for ABC’s “Good Morning America (GMA)” with the Passing the Torch Award; and the In the Meantime Men’s Group (ITMT), a 21-year old, 501(c)(3) community service organization, with the Advocate Award.
For bio blurbs about the honorees, visit https://pitchengine.com/wyllisa-bennett-publicist-du-jour/2019/02/28/prolific-award-winning-directorproducer-antho/002518509212110093221
This year’s presenters include actress Amirah Vann (“How to Get Away With Murder”), actress Aisha Hinds (“9-1-1,” “Shots Fired,” “Underground”), actor James Bland (“Giants”) actress Alexandra Grey (“Transparent,” “Chicago Med”), actor Parnell Damone Marcano (“Greenleaf”), actress Latarsha Rose (“Being Mary Jane” and “Hunger Games”), actor Benjamin Patterson (“Greenleaf”), reality star Wendell James (“Raising Whitley”), tv court personality Judge Mablean Ephriam (“Justice With Judge Mablean”), KTLA-TV weatherman and reporter Kaj Goldberg, and Dr. Leo Moore of Los County County Department of Public Health.
Past honorees include Emmy-winning actress Loretta Devine, award-winning actor Rockmond Dunbar, the first female NBA referee Violet Palmer, celebrated make up artist Sam Fine, author/writer James Earl Hardy, transgender model Tracey “Africa” Norman, transgender reality star and activist Chandi Moore, Grammy-nominated producer/singer/songwriter B. Slade, advertising executive Aaron Walton of Walton Isaacson (WI), and activist and night club owner Jewel Thais-Williams – just to name a few.
The Truth Awards are made possible with the support of Kaiser Permanente, LeadersUp, Northrup Grumman, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, In the Meantime Men’s Group, New York Life and KTLA TV.
The Truth Awards will benefit the DIVA Foundation and its partnership with BBLA, which has initiated several initiatives aimed at affirming and strengthening the African American LGBTQ+ community educationally, financially, physically and socially. For more information about the organization and its scholarship program, visit www.BetterBrothersLA.com
For more information about the Truth Awards and its honorees, visit www.BetterBrothersLA.com/truthawards
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ABOUT THE DIVA FOUNDATION
The DIVA Foundation — founded in 1990 by Tony-nominated actress and HIV/AIDS advocate Sheryl Lee Ralph — is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, created as a living memorial to the many friends she lost to HIV/AIDS as an original cast member of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls,” and because of her concern for the threat HIV/AIDS posed to women and children. Over the years, the DIVA Foundation has worked to break the silence and erase the stigma still connected to HIV/AIDS and encourage people to get tested in order to know their HIV status.
ABOUT BETTER BROTHERS LOS ANGELES (BBLA)
Better Brothers Los Angeles (BBLA) was created to provide spaces for members of the Black LGBTQ+ community to network, socialize and be BETTER – at life, love and community. Developing a sense of community has been a challenge for some within our community, given the cultural and religious opposition to our orientation and gender identity. As those challenges have receded in mainstream society, they still present significant difficulties and sometimes constrain a healthy sense of well-being. Since our inception, BBLA has sponsored cultural, informational, recreational, and social/networking events. We continue to sponsor and create opportunities that increase community confidence and pride. Visit www.BetterBrothersLA.com
James Ward III