Russell Simmons, Ricky Martin, OUT/The Advocate, Scissor Sisters and Anderson Cooper were among the top honorees at the 22nd annual GLAAD Media Awards presented by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation on Saturday in New York.
Music and entertainment mogul Russell Simmons received the Excellence in Media Award presented by the Rev. Al Sharpton. Both are veteran supporters of gay rights and Simmons recently took part in advertisements for the Human Rights Campaign to support marriage equality. Simmons referenced religious-based homophobia in his acceptance speech.
"I'm humbled by having one of my mentors and heroes Rev. Sharpton giving me this award," said Simmons. "It's no secret that faith-based communities, in some cases, have been difficult, and I think that for all of us who step outside of our comfort zone and fight for the rights of others, we are blessed. And Rev. Sharpton [has] stood up in so many ways and has been very special. And to the gay and lesbian community he's a true blessing."
Ricky Martin was given the Vito Russo Award for promoting equal rights. Martin announced on his blog last March that he is gay and his Oprah appearance to discuss his coming out also won for outstanding talk show episode.
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"I just want to be free. I can say, today I am free," the Puerto Rican singer said at New York's GLAAD Media Awards, which recognize the best portrayals of gay community members in film, television, radio, music, newspapers and blogs.
Martin, the 39 year-old singer of hits such as his 1999 single "Livin' la Vida Loca" who has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide, revealed he was gay in 2010 after more than a decade in the international spotlight. His coming-out included a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey and since then, he has been heralded as a gay role model, especially for Latin Americans. Martin thanked his parents and boyfriend before urged the audience to "let's go Latin America and let's share the love."
More awards will be presented in Los Angeles on April 10 and in San Francisco on May 14. The full list of winners and via Boy Culture, a clip of Simmons and Martin's acceptance speeches and Wilson Cruz on the red carpet, WHEN YOU JUMP ....