Tony and Grammy Award-Winning Performer Bill Porter to be Honored at 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards

April 26, 2017

Matt Goodman
Associate Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8028

Multi-platinum group DNCE to Headline Largest LGBTQ Awards Show

Billy Porter joins fellow honoree Debra Messing and special guests including Whoopi Goldberg, Trevor Noah, Rami Malek, Janet Mock, Zachary Quinto, and Christian Slater

NEW YORK, Wednesday, April 26, 2017  – GLAAD, the world’s LGBTQ media advocacy organization, announced today that it will honor Tony and Grammy Award-winning actor and singer Billy Porter with the Vito Russo Award at the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City at the New York Hilton Midtown on May 6, 2017. The GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.

GLAAD also announced that multi-platinum selling band DNCE will open the show. The band recently took home the win for “Best PUSH Artist” at the 2016 MTV European Music Awards and “Best New Artist” at last year’s MTV Video Music Awards. Their self-titled album is out now and features their hit singles including “Toothbrush,” “Body Moves” and their 3x platinum breakout smash “Cake By The Ocean.” 

GLAAD previously announced that Debra Messing will receive the Excellence in Media Award for outspoken support of LGBTQ people and against discrimination. Television host Ross Mathews will host the event for the fourth time, with presenters and special guests including Whoopi Goldberg, Don Lemon, Rami Malek, Janet Mock, Trevor Noah, Zachary Quinto, Christian Slater, and Survivor’s Zeke Smith.

The 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Delta Air Lines, Hilton, Ketel One Vodka, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Wells Fargo. At the event, attendees will be asked to wear blue “&” pins for GLAAD’s Together movement – representing GLAAD’s work on intersectional issues including immigration, racial justice, women’s rights, and LGBTQ acceptance. The “&” symbol showcases the power of solidarity and great accomplishments that occur when marginalized community groups – including women, Muslims, immigrants, and LGBTQ people – resist together.

Billy Porter will receive the Vito Russo Award, which is presented to an openly LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance. The Award is named for Vito Russo, a founder of GLAAD and celebrated ACT UP activist, who pushed open the door for news and entertainment industries to include LGBTQ performers and stories. Previous Vito Russo honorees include Anderson Cooper, Ricky Martin, George Takei, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie O’Donnell, RuPaul, Tom Ford, Thomas Roberts, Suze Orman, and Alan Cumming among others.

Porter is a Tony and Grammy Award-winning singer, actor, playwright and director. Most recently, he released the album Billy Porter Presents: The Soul of Richard Rodgers, which features soulful takes on classic Richard Rodgers songs alongside spoken messages about acceptance. He is an outspoken advocate for racial justice and LGBTQ issues who has advanced LGBTQ stories on and off the stage. Porter received the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his groundbreaking performance as drag artist Lola in the hit musical Kinky Boots. He also created theatre productions While Yet I Live and the GLAAD Media Award-nominated Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am), both about his life growing up as black, gay, Christian man in Pittsburgh, PA. Porter pushed for marriage equality as a Board Member of the Empire State Pride Agenda and consistently demonstrates his commitment to LGBTQ youth by working with organizations including the Ali Forney Center for LGBTQ homeless youth in New York City. Earlier this year, Porter shared his wedding to longtime partner Adam Smith with the world, remarking, “It’s still important to show the world what our love looks like.”

“Billy Porter is a trailblazer who has helped move inclusion forward for marginalized communities in theatre and music communities,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD. “Whether advancing acceptance on the stage or off, he sends unabashed messages of pride to LGBTQ youth and out performers around the world.”

In January, GLAAD announced 115 nominees in 21 English-language categories and 41 Spanish-language nominees in 11 categories. Nominees for the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards can be found here: Several award recipients were announced at the Los Angeles event on April 1 at the Beverly Hilton, where GLAAD also presented the Vanguard Award to Patricia Arquette and the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to Troye Sivan.

The 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Delta Air Lines, Hilton, Ketel One Vodka, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Wells Fargo. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD's work to amplify stories from the LGBTQ community and issues that build support for equality and acceptance.

To receive the latest updates on the GLAAD Media Awards, follow @glaad on Twitter and use the hashtag #glaadawards.

The 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards corporate partners include Presenting Partners Delta Air Lines, Hilton, Ketel One Vodka, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Wells Fargo. GLAAD is also grateful to: Official Partners Bud Light and Hyundai; Titanium Partners Comcast NBCUniversal and Southwest Airlines, Platinum partners 21st Century Fox, Allstate Insurance Company, AT&T, Disney ABC Television Group, ESPN, Facebook, Google, MetLife, NBA & WNBA, Netflix, Sheppard Mullin, and Turner; Gold partners CBS, iHeartMedia, MLB, Nielsen, Omnicom Group, PwC, Showtime, TLC/Discovery, UM, Univision, and Viacom; and Silver partners BD, Carat, Coca-Cola, Skadden, Tinder, Westfield, and WWE. For a full list of corporate partners and information on how to become a corporate partner, purchase tickets, and place a tribute in the tribute book, please visit