Wayne Brady, Law Roach, Colman Domingo and more are among Native Son’s 2023 honorees

The Emil Wilbekin-founded organization Native Son continues its annual tradition of highlighting 101 Black queer men making a difference.

Wayne Brady used to think the world couldn’t benefit from him living his truth.  

“Past a certain point, life becomes too short to live in the dark all the time,” he told Yahoo Entertainment ahead of performing with the Gay Men’s Choir of Los Angeles over the weekend. 

Now, the “Let’s Make A Deal” host is inspiring others to live their truth while receiving top honors for showing up honestly in his life. 

After coming out as pansexual – meaning he is attracted to individuals regardless of sex or gender – earlier this year, the actor has been named among Native Son’s 4th annual 101 2023 class of honorees, along with Don Lemon, stylist Law Roach, actor Colman Domingo, and others. 

This year’s list is comprised of a diverse set of 101 queer Black men across many walks of life, including social justice activists, media personalities, politicians, visual and performing artists, entrepreneurs, entertainers, fashion industry insiders, authors, musicians, and more. 

Joining Brady, Roach, Lemon, and Domingo on this year’s list include Tony Award-winning actor J. Harrison Ghee, the first non-binary performer to win a Tony Award along with Alex Newell; singer Durand Bernarr; “Dr. Who” star Ncuti Gatwa; stylist and author Ty Hunter; Maryland State Delegate Ashanti Martinez, who became the first openly LGBTQ+ member of the General Assembly from Prince George’s County District 22 in the Maryland House of Delegates; NAACP Image Award-winning actor Nicco Annan, choreographer Sean Bankhead; former NFL player, author and advocate R.K. Russell; Sandro, breakout star of “The Great British Bake Off”; and Fabian Nelson, the first openly gay state legislator in Mississippi. (A complete look at all 101 of the honorees can be found at nativeson.us.)  

For this year’s list, each honoree has been illustrated by artist C.J. Robinson, who also illustrated lists from previous years. 

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In a release to theGrio, Emil Wilbekin, former editor-in-chief of Vibe and Giant magazines and the founder of Native Son, said this year has been one with major “contrasts.” He noted while there have been “unprecedented attacks” against the LGBTQ+ community, including over 500 pieces of anti-queer legislation coming down on the books, there have also been great triumphs. 

“Black gay and queer men have ascended, making history in politics, shifting narratives in media, TV, and film, and holding critical positions of power in business and technology,” said Wilbekin, adding, “Living at the intersection of our Blackness and our queerness can be both challenging and triumphant. Meet the rebels and the warriors in our community who are doing the good work to push past any roadblocks – those who are creating opportunities, acting as agents of change and who are advocates for everyone to be able to stand loud and proud in their truth.”

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