Scandal star Kerry Washington accepted the Vanguard Award at Saturday’s 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles at the iconic Beverly Hilton. Ellen DeGeneres, who was previously honored with GLAAD’s Stephen F. Kolzak Award, presented the honor. The Vanguard Award is presented to media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equality. Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Jennifer Lopez, Kristin Chenoweth, Charlize Theron, Elizabeth Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Drew Barrymore, Janet Jackson, and Sharon Stone.
Check out the video of Washington below:
In an acceptance speech that had the audience on their feet, Washington said, “I don’t decide to play the characters I play as a political choice. Yet the characters I play often do become political statements. Because having your story told as a woman, as a person of color, as a lesbian, as a trans person, or as any member of any disenfranchised community, is sadly often still a radical idea. There is so much power in storytelling, and there is enormous power in inclusive storytelling, in inclusive representations. That is why the work of GLAAD is so important. We need more LGBT representation in the media. We need more LGBT characters and more LGBT storytelling. We need more diverse LGBT representation. And by that, I mean lots of different kinds of LGBT people living all different kinds of lives. And this is big—we need more employment of LGBT people in front of and behind the camera.”
Washington continued, “We can’t say that we believe in each other’s fundamental humanity, and then turn a blind eye to the reality of each other’s existence, and the truth of each others’ hearts. We must be allies and we must be allies in this business, because to be represented is to be humanized, and as long as anyone anywhere is being made to feel less human, our very definition of humanity is at stake, and we are all vulnerable. We must see each other, all of us. And we must see ourselves, all of us. And we have to continue to be bold and break new ground until that is just how it is, until we are no longer ‘firsts’ and ‘exceptions’ and ‘rare’ and ‘unique.’ In the real world, being an ‘other’ is the norm. In the real world, the only norm is uniqueness, and our media must reflect that. Thank you GLAAD, for fighting the good fight.”
Washington is best known for her role as Olivia Pope on the LGBT-inclusive hit show Scandal, executive produced by Shonda Rhimes. In addition to the ABC drama, Washington has appeared in other LGBT-inclusive projects like Peeples, She Hate Me, The Dead Girl, and Life Is Hot In Cracktown. The actress is a longtime supporter of equality for LGBT people. She has participated in GLAAD’s annual Spirit Day, a campaign to end anti-LGBT bullying, and has advocated for marriage equality both at-home and abroad.
Ellen DeGeneres presented the Vanguard Award to Kerry Washington. Channing Tatum presented the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to director Roland Emmerich. Comedian Tig Notaro hosted the event. Guests included: Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy); Patricia Arquette (CSI: Cyber); TV producer Shonda Rhimes; Viola Davis, Jack Falahee, Matt McGorry, Aja Naomi King, Peter Nowalk (How to Get Away with Murder); Portia de Rossi(Scandal); Graham Moore (The Imitation Game); Pauley Perrette (NCIS); Jill Soloway, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, Alexandra Billings, Rhys Ernst, Kiersey Clemons, Michaela Watkins, Alison Sudol, Clementine Creevy, Brett Parasol (Transparent); Michael Harney, Samira Wiley, Nick Sandow, Alysia Reiner (Orange is the New Black); Andrew Rannells(Girls); Murray Bartlett, Daniel Franzese (Looking); Ron Perlman (Stonewall); Jordan Gavaris (Orphan Black); Against Me! lead singer Laura Jane Grace; Michael Mosley, Kevin Daniels, Kevin Bigley (Sirens); Peter Paige, Bradley Bredeweg, Gavin MacIntosh, Hayden Byerly (The Fosters); Yara Martinez (Jane the Virgin); Serayah McNeill (Empire); Alex Newell (Glee); Gregg Sulkin, Rita Volk, Michael J. Willett, Carter Covington (Faking It); Barrett Foa (NCIS: Los Angeles); Jessica St. Clair, Lennon Parham (Playing House); Wilson Cruz (Red Band Society); stylist Brad Goreski; Gary Janetti (Vicious); Guy Wilson, Freddie Smith, Christopher Sean (Days of Our Lives); musician Our Lady J; model Nats Getty; Hannah Hart (My Drunk Kitchen); DJs Sam Sparro, Kim Anh, Derek Monteiro; GLAAD Board member Meghan McCain; GLAAD National Spokesperson Omar Sharif, Jr. and GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
Visit glaad.org/mediaawards/press for a complete list of award recipients announced on Saturday night.
article by Mariah Yamamoto via glaad.org