The Seventh Annual National Black Theatre TEER Spirit Awards Gala will take place on June 18th and will be hosted by Russell G. Jones. June 18th is NBT’s Founder’s Day as it is the birthdate of founder, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer. The Spirit Awards began as a commemoration of Dr. Teer after her passing in 2008 with a purpose of honoring those who continue the legacy set by the pioneers of the National Black Theatre.
In addition to visionary, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, the creators of NBT also included Adetunde Samuel, and Fredrica L. Teer; each with an award to be given at the gala. In addition to those three awards, there is also recognition for contributors to NBT and the community.
This year’s Trailblazer recipient is playwright, Dominique Morisseau (Detroit ’67). The Pioneer Award will honor Carmen de Lavallade, Rosalba Rolón, and Sydne Mahone. The Adetunde Samuel Award will go to directors Kwame Kwei-Armah and Kamilah Forbes. Mary Schmit Campbell and Roberta Uno will receive this year’s Frederica L. Teer Award; and the Honorable Chief Nike Davies-Okundaye will receive the Dr. Barbara Ann Teer Spirit Award. Live entertainment for the evening will feature music led by Bert Price, Nsangou Njikam, and Rain Pryor who is currently performing her one-woman show, Fried Chicken and Latkes, at NBT now until June 28.
For tickets and more information about the TEER Spirit Awards Gala and the National Black Theatre, visit www.nbtf.org.
Cynthia Erivo Nominated for BAFTA’s Rising Star Award
Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award-winning actress, Cynthia Erivo, known for her transformative performance as Celie in the 2015 Broadway revival of The Color Purple is now one of five actors nominated for the British Academy of Film’s 2019 Rising Star Awards.
Most recently seen alongside Viola Davis in Steve McQueen’s Widows, Erivo says:
“I’m ever grateful to BAFTA and the jury panel for nominating me for the 2019 EE Rising Star Award. It means the world to me to be acknowledged by the community that, for most of my life, I’ve known as home. Thank you for this incredible honour.” – Cynthia Erivo
The BAFTA Awards will take place on February 10th.
Get Your War Clothes On: Billy Porter Energizes in GLAAD Acceptance Speech
So, I have a question.
In the same line of thought as “innocent until proven guilty,” do we grant the assumption of positive intent in our expectations of our brothers and sister in regards to woke-ness, à la woke until proven problematic?
Now don’t get me wrong, there was no doubt in my heart that Tony and Grammy Award-winner, Billy Porter, was woke. Nope, none. What I wasn’t ready for, was the way he fixed his fingers to pen one of the greatest acceptance speeches of my lifetime, and how he turned the Gospel classic “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” into a battle song.
The 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards honored Billy Porter with the Vito Russo Award, presented to an openly LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance.
He started by affirming the room full of members of marginalized communities, with my personal daily mantra: “You are enough. we are enough.”
Since the beginning of time artists are the folks who engage critically and encourage those who think they are powerless to question the status quo.
Brothers and sisters across the room leaned in.
The days of shut up and sing are over.
Alliteration informed and illustrated as Porter preached on remaining “vigilantly visual” as we tell our stories. Acknowledging the reality of our times, he spoke on Number 45:
Where they slipped up this time is in that declaration of war. It’s not only against Black and Brown people and Queer people anymore, it’s against ALL of us. And as a result, the good news is: white folk, and straight folk, and all those fierce women folk, are mad now. And NOW maybe something might get done!
Get. Your. War. Clothes. On.
From slavery to emancipation, to the 13th Amendment, to Jim Crow, to the Civil Rights Movement. From Stonewall to AIDS, to marriage equality— we gotta remember the shoulders who we stand on—the ones who fought and died for those freedoms that we hold so dear. Let’s use these historical strides we’ve made as a nation to empower us as warriors on this battlefield of equality.
Until we can figure out how to love one another unconditionally, no one wins. Freedom. Equality. Justice. Have always come at a cost and evidently the always will.
If that’s not the truth.
Stay strong. Stay vigilante. Stay visible. Stay hopeful. Stay focused. Be brave. Be fierce.
For a full list of this year’s winners, honorees, and guests, visit GLAAD.