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Drew Barrymore and Wanda Sykes Honored at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards

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GLAAD announced today that Golden Globe-winning actress, director and producer Drew Barrymore will receive the Vanguard Award; and Emmy Award-winning actress, comedian, writer, and producer Wanda Sykes will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards Presented in Los Angeles on April 17, 2010. Events will also be held in New York on March 13 and in San Francisco on June 5.

“When Americans see allies like Drew standing up for fairness for all and hear stories of Wanda and her family, support for full equality grows,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. Actress Candis Cayne and actor Wilson Cruz will host the event in Los Angeles. Other guests and presenters scheduled to attend include: director and designer Tom Ford (A Single Man); Benjamin Bratt (La Mission); openly gay lead singer of Judas Priest, Rob Halford; and GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. More names will be announced. Awards are scheduled to be presented onstage in the following categories include: Outstanding Film - Wide Release, Outstanding Comedy Series, and Outstanding Reality Program.

Drew Barrymore will receive the Vanguard Award, which is presented to media professionals who have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community. “I was born, bred and raised amongst diversity, it has defined me and made me the person I am today,” Barrymore said, “I am honored to be receiving this award.”

In 1995, Barrymore starred in Boys on the Side, written by openly gay filmmaker Don Roos, which won the Outstanding Film Award at the 7th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. In 2009, Barrymore produced He’s Just Not That Into You in which she played a straight reporter at a LGBT newspaper who desperately seeks dating advice from her gay best friends, one of which is played by 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in LA host, Wilson Cruz. Also in 2009, Barrymore undertook the role of “Rosie Goode”, the lesbian daughter of a widower played by Robert De Niro in Everybody’s Fine, nominated for Outstanding Film – Wide Release at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards.

Off the screen Barrymore has always been outspoken in her support of the LGBT community. In May 2009, when the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, Barrymore joined thousands of protestors in the streets of West Hollywood demanding marriage equality, “I am who I am because of the people who influenced me growing up, and many of them were gay,” said Barrymore, “No one has the right to tell anyone what makes a family…this is something that means everything to me.”

For her artistic achievements and for her consistent support of the LGBT community in her personal as well as in her career choices, GLAAD is pleased to present Drew Barrymore with the Vanguard Award, where she will be joining past recipients that include Charlize Theron, Antonio Banderas, Janet Jackson, Sharon Stone, Elizabeth Taylor, Eric McCormack, Liza Minnelli, Kathy Griffin and Whoopi Goldberg.

Wanda Sykes will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which is presented to an openly gay LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for our community.

In 1997 Sykes joined the writing team for the HBO hit The Chris Rock Show. As a performer and writer on the show, Sykes was nominated for three Primetime Emmys and in 1999 won the Emmy for “Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special.” Sykes won three more Emmys for her work on Inside the NFL. Sykes was nominated for another Emmy for her 2006 HBO comedy special. Since 2006, Sykes has played “Barb” on the hit CBS comedy The New Adventures of Old Christine. Although “Barb” and “Christine” are straight, they do get married to one another in an erroneous attempt to keep “Barb” from being deported.

In 2009, Sykes also debuted her own late night talk show on Fox, and premiered her second HBO stand up special, Wanda Sykes: I’ma Be Me. “I am truly honored to receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award,” said Wanda Sykes, “I greatly appreciate the work that GLAAD continues to do, promoting equality, fair representation and tolerance for our LGBT community. I just pray that I don’t ruin what GLAAD has achieved with all of my shenanigans.”

Outspoken Emmy Award-winning Sykes does just the opposite, as she has spoken out about LGBT issues by appearing in GLSEN’s, “Think Before You Speak” PSAs aimed at curbing homophobic slang in schools, performing at a fundraiser for The Trevor Project, hosting the Human Right’s Campaign Dinner, joining Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Tour and by serving as a Board Member for the Equality California Institute. About the passage of Proposition 8 in November 2008, Sykes

courtesy of SheWired.com

came out at a Stand Out for Equality rally of over 1,000 people in Las Vegas, and announced that she legally married her wife in California. In May 2009, Sykes became the first openly gay and first African American woman to be the featured entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

For her pioneering decision to live her life as an openly gay woman, for her commitment to activism for LGBT civil rights—and for making us laugh for the past decade, GLAAD is please to present Wanda Sykes with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, joining past recipients including Rufus Wainwright, Melissa Etheridge, Todd Haynes, Bill Condon, Alan Ball, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sir Ian McKellen.

The 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards will be held on April 17 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. Additionally, Cynthia Nixon, out star of Sex and the City and LGBT advocate, will be awarded the Vito Russo Award for promoting equality during GLAAD’s New York City ceremony on March 13 at the Marriott Marquis; and Levi Strauss President, Robert Hanson, will receive the Local Hero Award at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, California on June 5.

For a complete list of all the nominees please visit: http://www.glaad.org/mediaawards/21/nominees

To purchase your ticket to one of the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies, please visit http://www.glaad.org/mediaawards/21/tickets. Be sure to purchase your tickets for these events that are not be missed.

Mainstream media has this exciting announcement on its radar, illuminating on the vital support of the LGBT community from celebrities and the entertainment industry: LA Times, TV Guide, E! Online and Access Hollywood.

All Tickets are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law**.