Black LGBT Media Images Explored

February 4, 2009
On the eve of the 40th NAACP Image Awards, the National Black Justice Coalition and GLAAD will host a forum in Los Angeles on the infrequent intersection of African American and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) images in media, and the importance of these stories being told, particularly in the wake of California’s Proposition 8. “Knocking Down the Door: Black LGBT Images in Media” will explore the historical under-representation of these images, the ongoing advocacy efforts to promote the telling of these stories and the professional issues and challenges facing openly gay African American artists. The Screen Actors Guild LGBT Actors Committee and the Beverly Hills-Hollywood Branch of the NAACP will co-sponsor the forum, open to the public, on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 7pm at the Screen Actors Guild James Cagney Board Room. Confirmed panelists include: Willis Edwards, Member, National Board of Directors, NAACP; Vice Chair of the NAACP Image Awards Deondray Gossett, Writer/Producer/Director, “The DL Chronicles” Maurice Jamal, Writer/Producer/Director, “Dirty Laundry,” “The Ski Trip” Marcellas Reynolds, TV Host/Correspondent, E! Networks Sonja Sohn, Actor, “The Wire” J. Karen Thomas, Actor; Founding Member SAG LGBT Actors Committee Moderated by: Rashad Robinson, GLAAD Senior Director of Media Programs WHAT: “Knocking Down the Door: Black LGBT Images in Media” WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009; 7pm – 9pm WHERE:  Screen Actors Guild James Cagney Board Room, First Floor 5757 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036-3600 PARKING WILL BE VALIDATED RSVP ESSENTIAL: MEDIA INQUIRIES: Damon Romine, GLAAD, 323/634-2012 “For the first time we have five openly gay individuals and multiple gay-themed projects nominated at the NAACP Image Awards,” said Jasper Hendricks, NBJC Director of Field Operations. “We are hopeful this historic achievement will begin to break down barriers to openly LGBT arts and entertainment professionals in getting roles and jobs in the industry.  We need to continue to highlight our successes and this forum will be a part of educating the media and the industry as to the issues LGBT people face.” “This year’s nominees for the NAACP Image Awards demonstrate significant progress at a time when LGBT African Americans continue to be underrepresented in the media and those representations are often based on stereotypes,” said GLAAD Senior Director of Media Programs Rashad Robinson, who will serve as moderator of the panel. “We hope that through open dialogue with industry leaders at forums like this, we can continue to open doors for stories and images of our lives and our communities. These stories – when told in a fair, accurate and inclusive way – have the power to change hearts and minds.”