The Better Brothers Los Angeles (BBLA) in association with award-winning actress/activist Sheryl Lee Ralph and her non-profit organization, the DIVA Foundation, hosted the 4th annual Truth Awards on Saturday, February 24 at the Taglyan Complex in Los Angeles.
The black-tie affair honored African-American, trailblazing men and women whose personal and professional accomplishments have positively impacted the perception and image of the Black LGBTQ community. The Truth Awards embody the belief that members of the Black LGBTQ community and its allies who embrace and live their truth should be recognized and honored.
Actor Rockmond Dunbar received the Ally Award for his work over the years. “Very courageously, as a straight man, Rockmond has taken on roles as a Black gay man, bringing to light contemporary issues, facing the African American community,” said Ralph, founder of the DIVA Foundation. “Through his art, he offers positive and thoughtful portrayals, which helps open the dialogue about the homophobia in the Black community.”
Dunbar is part of the ensemble cast of Fox’s hit show, “9-1-1,” sharing screen time with Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett, and portraying, Michael Grant, a married man, who just recently came out to his family. He’s also portrayed a gay man in the 2006 hit indie, “Dirty Laundry,” directed by Maurice Jamal.
Along with Dunbar, the Truth Awards honored former NBA referee Violet Palmer, the first female to officiate an NBA game, with a Lifetime Achievement Award; the “Eyebrow King,” and celebrity makeup artist Damone Roberts, owner of the Damone Roberts Beverly Hills and Damone Roberts New York with the Business Leadership Award; singer/songwriter Rahsaan Patterson with the Music & Arts Award; entertainment publicist Ellene Miles of EV Miles Media Group with the Media & Arts Award; journalist Tre’Vell Anderson of the Los Angeles Times with the Passing the Torch Award; and reality star and health educator Chandi Moore with the Advocate Award.
This year’s presenters included actor Trevante Rhodes (“Moonlight”), actress Vanessa Williams, actress Renee Lawless (Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and Have Nots”), TV host and style expert Lloyd Boston, beauty expert Sam Fine, writer Benjamin Corey Jones (“Insecure”) and KTLA-TV reporter Kareen Wynter. Singer/songwriter Shanice, and DJ B-Hen providing entertainment for the afterparty.
The DIVA Foundation and its founder Sheryl Lee Ralph are especially pleased to continue their partnership with BBLA on this effort. Both organizations believe a healthy Black community – one where individuals are allowed to live their truth, free of shame and stigma, and are recognized as equal and rightful members of the community – is a critical piece in the fight to also end HIV/AIDS. The 2018 honorees represent various fields, including entertainment, sports, beauty, business and media.
Notable allies in Black Hollywood joined Ralph in presenting the awards to the Truth Awards recipients. Past honorees include Emmy-winning actress Loretta Devine, reality star Wendell James (“Raising Whitley”), author/writer James Earl Hardy, transgender model Tracey “Africa” Norman, celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine, Grammy-nominated producer/singer/songwriter B. Slade, advertising executive Aaron Walton of Walton Isaacson (WI), and activist and night club owner Jewel Thais-Williams – just to name a few.
The Truth Awards benefited BBLA and its partnership with the DIVA Foundation, which has initiated several initiatives aimed at affirming and strengthening the African American LGBTQ community educationally, financially, physically and socially.
The Truth Awards are made possible with the support of Gilead, KTLA-TV, New York Life, Northrop Grumman, Columbia University IRAAS and Lambda Vodka.
(Photo Credits: Nyema Jackson)