Laverne Cox will receive the Special Excel Pride Trailblazer Award for her artistry and advocacy as an Equal Rights Activist in the Transgender Community at the My True Colors Festival. The Excel Pride Awards pay homage to community, business and civic leaders who are champions of social justice, the arts and LGBTQIA+ rights plus entertainment industry icons. Cox was Executive Producer of the documentary films Free CeCe and Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word, for which she was the first openly trans woman to win a Daytime Emmy.
My True Colors Festival, an annual multidisciplinary arts event for and by underserved lesbian, gay, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual plus (LGBTQIA+) storytellers, announced today the winners of the second annual My True Colors Excel Pride Awards. A special presentation ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 12, 2018 (6PM -11PM) at the Dumbo Loft in Brooklyn, NY.
My True Colors Excel Pride Awards stems from My True Colors Festival (MTCF). An Official NYC Pride Event Partner (Heritage of Pride Inc.) since inception, My True Colors Festival proudly presents plays, stage readings, musicals, documentaries, film shorts, narrative films, web series, dance acts and other artistic works. Now in its fourth year, MTCF takes place during National Pride Month (June 7 – 24, 2018) at various venues in Brooklyn, New York.
My True Colors’ organizers are committed to using its programming to shine a spotlight on individuals who have been invisiblized because of race, gender, identity, religion, social status, nationality, able- bodyism, and/or sexual orientation. “Now more than ever as we are seeing all marginalized communities come under attack, we need to tell our stories,” says Carolyn M. Brown, an award- winning journalist and Co-Founder/Executive Director of MTCF. “Many of the protections that were achieved over the past decade face renewed threats. Ground was lost after the 2016 election, thanks to inflammatory rhetoric and rollback of Obama’s policies. Bias and discrimination is on the rise. Studies show that Americans are less accepting of LGBT+ people,” she adds, pointing to the recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the LGBT media advocacy group, GLAAD.
This year’s My True Colors Excel Pride winners have made significant strides in their careers and community activism, whether is ensuring safe and affirming environments at school and in the home for LGBTQIA+ youth; combating homophobia, transphobia, bullying, bias, and discrimination; tackling serious subject matter and raising consciousness on social issues such as living and loving with HIV/AIDS; or empowering and investing in women and non-binary femme social entrepreneurs.
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MY TRUE COLORS EXCEL PRIDE AWARD HONOREES:
Staceyann Chin, Champion of Justice Award
Staceyann is a highly respected spoken word poet, performance artist, and LGBTQ+ rights activist. Her appearances include “60 Minutes,” “Showtime at the Apollo,” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” where she discussed the challenges of growing up gay in Jamaica. An out poet and political activist since 1998, Chin made her formidable mark on the arts scene in New York City. In addition to performing in and co-writing the Tony Award–nominated “Def Poetry Jam” on Broadway, Chin has appeared in Off-Broadway one-woman shows and at the Nuyorican Poets Café. She performed in both the stage and film versions of Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People’s History of the United States. Her solo show ‘MotherStruck!’, directed by the Emmy Award Winning Actress Cynthia Nixon, set forth Chin’s personal journey to motherhood as a single lesbian. Chin is quick to say her activist life began with a fury of performance poetry.
Laverne Cox, Trailblazer Award
Laverne Cox is a bonafide history-maker, most recently as the first transgender woman to land a Cosmopolitan magazine cover. She continues to make history in her acting career and significant strides in her activism for equal rights. Debuting on the scene in the groundbreaking role of Sophia Burset in the critically acclaimed Netflix original series Orange is The New Black, Laverne is the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show. She is an LGBTQ+ advocate with an empowering message of moving beyond gender expectations to live more authentically. She is Executive Producer of the documentary films Free CeCe and Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word, for which she was the first openly trans woman to win a Daytime Emmy. Laverne is the host and a judge of Lifetime’s new beauty competition reality series, Glam Masters, from Executive Producer Kim Kardashian West.
Marjorie Hill, Community Impact Award
Dr. Hill is the CEO of the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center, a Federally Qualified Community Health Center established in 1987. Dr. Hill is a proven leader in the field of HIV/AIDS. She was the longest tenured CEO, and most successful fundraiser at GMHC, the oldest AIDS provider in the world. A licensed clinical psychologist and a former New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation administrator, Dr. Hill currently serves as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s designated Chair of the NYS AIDS Advisory Council. She has held a myriad of leadership positions, including Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office for the Lesbian & Gay Community (Mayor David Dinkins) and Assistant Commissioner for HIV/AIDS, (Mayor Michael Bloomberg.) She has extensive board and advocacy expertise, including the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and the New York Civil Liberties Union. She also was the first openly lesbian President of the Association of Black Psychologists.
David J. Johns, Advocacy Award
David serves as the Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, including people living with HIV/AIDS. NBJC’s mission is to end racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ bias and stigma. In 2013, Johns was appointed as the first Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans by President Barack H. Obama. Prior, David was a senior education and workforce development policy advisor to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions under the leadership of U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). David has worked on issues affecting low-income and minority students, neglected youth, early childhood and k-12 education, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) among others. His research as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow served as a catalyst to identify, disrupt and supplant negative perceptions of black males.
Natalia Oberti Noguera, Business Innovation Award
Dubbed “The Coach” by Marie Claire, Natalia (aka Ms. Oberti Noguera) is Founder & CEO of Pipeline Angels Network. Pipeline Angels is changing the face of angel investing and creating capital for women and non-binary femme social entrepreneurs. Natalia is also Creator & Host of Pitch Makeover, a podcast on pitching and investing that spotlights startups launched by women, non- binary people, and men of color. Natalia serves on the boards of Walker’s Legacy, Women 2.0, and iRelaunch. Inc. Magazine selected Natalia as one of “The Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs of 2016,” Latina.com included her in their list of “25 Latinas Who Shine in Tech,” and Women’s eNews recognized her as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century for 2012. StartOut, a network of LGBTQ entrepreneurs, honored Natalia with the 2017 Nixon Peabody Trailblazer Award, “recognizing an entrepreneur whose pioneering approach or vision has set a trend for an entire industry.”
Floyd Rumohr, Outstanding Leadership Award
Floyd is currently the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, which provides support and services to the borough’s LGBTQ+ community through original programming. Floyd has been an organizational leader, teacher, author, consultant, and founding president and CEO of Stages of Learning, a nonprofit organization described by former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg as “one of the most effective arts education programs” serving New York City. Floyd started his arts career as an actor and a master teaching artist; directed several plays off-Broadway; and served as a reviewer/writer for the NYC Department of Education’s Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts. As Associate Education Director for Theatre for a New Audience, he brought world-class arts education to young people. He served as interim executive director for Love Heals, the Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education, and Apple Arts-NYC; and, a founding partner of Rumohr and Clarke Nonprofit Consulting.
Linda Villarosa, Vanguard Award
Linda currently runs the journalism program at the City College of New York and is an assistant professor of media communication arts. She is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine; her article “America’s Hidden HIV Epidemic,” nominated for a 2018 GLAAD Award, ran on the magazine’s June cover. Linda served as the health editor of the New York Times and executive editor of Essence Magazine. Her article “Coming Out,” written with her mother, remains one of the most responded-to in the history of Essence magazine. Linda’s Essence article “Pride & Prejudice,” about LGBT activism in Africa, was nominated for a 2016 GLAAD Media Award. She is a regular contributor to The Root, Slate, The Huffington Post and Ebony.com. She also is the author of the non-fiction book Body & Soul: The Black Women’s Guide to Physical Health and Emotional Well-Being and the novel Passing for Black.