National Black Justice Coalition and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Host "Knocking Down the Door: Black LGBT Images in Media"

February 5, 2009
Richard Ferraro Director of Communications (646) 871-8011

February 05, 2009, Los Angeles, CA – On the eve of the 40th NAACP Image Awards, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) will host a forum 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. The panel 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 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"
Quincy LeNear, Writer/Producer/Director, "The DL Chronicles"
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, Senior Director of Media Programs, GLAAD 

"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 Awardsdemonstrate 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." 

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


MEDIA INQUIRIES: Damon Romine, GLAAD, (323) 634-2012

About NBJC
The National Black Justice Coalition,, is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Our mission is to end racism and homophobia.

About SAG LGBT Actors Committee
The purpose of the Committee is to educate the Screen Actors Guild membership, entertainment industry and general public about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) actors' issues; end discrimination against LGBT actors in the workplace; and expand work opportunities for LGBT actors.