GLAAD Media Awards: Karine Jean-Pierre, Colman Domingo, and more on the trailblazing event

TheGrio attended the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City on Saturday, where attendees reflected on the ceremony's theme, "Amplify Your Voice, Act Now," while on the red carpet.

From respected political voices like Karine Jean-Pierre and Symone Sanders-Townsend to celebrities like Colman Domingo and Bob the Drag Queen, the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards was filled with voices coming together to support and amplify the LGBTQ+ community.

TheGrio attended this year’s GLAAD Media Awards on Saturday evening, which descended upon New York City with an official theme: “Amplify Your Voice, Act Now.” On the heels of hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills seen across America, with 350 of them directed explicitly towards trans people, attendees hit the red carpet ready to use their platform. Many spoke to theGrio about the essential need for visibility, representation in media, and the importance of speaking out against prejudice and attacks against the community.

34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards - Inside
Karine Jean-Pierre speaks on stage during the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 13, 2023, at New York Hilton in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for GLAAD)

Karine Jean-Pierre, who makes history the first openly gay and first Black White House press secretary, spoke to the power of representation. “One of the things that’s so amazing about being here is lifting up and representing what we see in the movies and what we see on TV,” she explained. “If we are not telling our stories, how can we be visible? Lifting that up tonight and seeing that is so key to how we move forward.”

The press secretary then addressed the recent rise in anti-LGTBQ bills, saying, “Across the state houses, across the country, we have seen more than 600 pieces of legislation. Just think about that, it’s anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, something we’ve never seen before, and a few hundred of those are anti-trans and anti-kids.”

She continued, “What we have been doing and what we continue to do is speak out. Our President (President Joe Biden) has been a great ally to our community, and we are going to speak out and have the backs of our community.” 

Speaking directly to fellow community members, she added, “Representation matters, visibility matters and we want folks to know that we see you, we love you and it is important to be who you are and exactly who you are because guess what? That’s your superpower.”

Emmy Award-winning talent Colman Domingo also hit the red carpet, calling events like the GLAAD Awards “more important than ever.” He said, “As we know, legislation is trying to take us backward and what we can do is really be outspoken with what we write, what we create, what we greenlight.”

34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards - Inside
Colman Domingo and L Morgan Lee appear on stage during the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 13, 2023, at New York Hilton in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for GLAAD)

He added, “This is an act of sheer resistance just by being. I look at this beautiful room and look at the wonderful drag performers out there spreading light and joy. Darkness is trying to take over all of us and they’re trying to hit us where we have the most joy.”

Domingo has several upcoming projects, including the Bayard Rustin biopic, “Rustin,” set to hit theaters later this year. Domingo said he’s proud of the film about the Black and gay civil rights leader.

“I really want it to inspire and ignite a movement again,” he added. “I want young people to know that the power has always been in your hands. The larger picture would like to make you believe that you are powerless but you are actually the most powerful.”

MSNBC host Symone Sanders-Townsend spoke about the very real threats members of the community face in this country. 

She said, “Let’s just be clear: there is a target on the backs of the LGBTQ+ community across this country … this is the state of play in the USA right now.” Sanders herself was nominated at the ceremony for a segment from her MSNBC series “Symone,” which highlighted Club Q shooting survivor Michael Anderson. “Tonight is the night that we celebrate the people who are living their lives out loud and also the folks who are telling those stories.”

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” star and winner of season 8 Bob the Drag Queen, spoke to the importance of LGBTQ+-focused events like the GLAAD Media Awards in the industry. “If it wasn’t for the GLAAD Media Awards, we probably wouldn’t be recognized in places like the Emmys … I mean I just won a Peabody Award!”

34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards - Inside
Bob The Drag Queen appears on stage during the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 13, 2023, at New York Hilton in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for GLAAD)

Bob, who stars in the HBO docuseries “We’re Here” (which took home the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program later in the evening), also spoke to using your platform, quipping, “I’m just a real loud-mouthed b—- and I just talk a lot, and people will say, ‘You’re speaking out’ and I’m like, ‘I just can’t shut up!’ I’m just being me, but I love that people are inspired by my inability to shut up!”

For more on the GLAAD Media Awards, how to take action and support the LGBTQ+ community, and more, head to the official site here.

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