*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
GET SOCIAL WITH THE BETTER BROTHERS LA
- Find Better Brothers LA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thetruthawards
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- Follow Better Brothers LA on Instagram @BetterBrothersLA
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
The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)
*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.
The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.
“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”
Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”
The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.
“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”
Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”
In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.
“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”
Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.
“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”
Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”
New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’
*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.
“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).
It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.
EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.
Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars. As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.
This year has been a year like no other. “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead. Radio Programmers click here for adds.
“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA. Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita. The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture. “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms. Click here to listen on Spotify.
Celebrate Halloween with ‘Spell’ Starring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and John Beasley / WATCH
*Today/TONIGHT is Halloween and what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than with the release of SPELL? Enjoy the clips below to get you in the spooky spirit!
Omari Hardwick (“Power,” Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (“Black-ish,” Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All Fears, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) star in the terrifying thriller SPELL, coming to Premium Video-On-Demand and Digital today October 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
While flying to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family. He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to outwit and break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.
DIRECTED BY | Mark Tonderai
SCREENPLAY BY | Kurt Wimmer
STARRING | Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, DirecTV, VUDU, Xfinity, FandangoNOW and more.
Rating | R – violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language
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