Tina Fey, Patrick Wilson, Denis O’Hare, Pauley Perrette, Wilson Cruz, Jane Velez-Mitchell, and Lawrence O’Donnell were among the celebrities who joined the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) as it honored Ricky Martin, Russell Simmons, and the most inclusive television, film and journalism March 20 at the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York. Andy Cohen, VP of Original Programming and Development for Bravo, hosted the star-studded bash.
At the ceremony, the Reverend Al Sharpton presented the Excellence in Media Award to hip hop mogul Russell Simmons, after a video of his work on behalf of LGBT Americans played on the big screen. Film and Broadway producer Craig Zadan presented the Vito Russo Award to Grammy Award-winning pop star, Ricky Martin, whose decision to speak candidly about his life as a gay man has had a tremendous impact in the media, especially for Latino youth. Martin seemed genuinely humbled as he accepted his award.
“I just want to be free. I can say today I’m free,” Martin said from the podium. “And for that I definitely need to thank my parents for being so supportive, my mother and my dad for their unconditional love, and my friends, my family, my fans. And my partner in crime, my boyfriend Carlos. And GLAAD, let’s go to Latin America, let’s share the love!” The sellout crowd erupted in supportive applause.
The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. Two more award ceremonies take place in the next month in Los Angeles and San Francisco.