Out Magazine brought out the creme de la creme of gay & straight celebrities to New York City's Gotham Hall last weekend to celebrate their annual Out 100. The 100 individuals who made Out's "unashamedly subjective" list in 2008 were recognized for their outstanding achievements and contributions not only to the gay community but to the culture at large.
An extraordinary group of gay and lesbian African-American and Latino actors, filmmakers, athletes, playwrights, and activists were recognized this year. Maurice Jamal (Ski Trip, Dirty Laundry), Corey Benton & Jamal Brown (Track Athletes), Guillermo Diaz(Stonewall, Weeds), Tarell Alvin McCraney(Wig Out!), Kenyon Farrow(Queers for Economic Justice), Denise Simmons(Mayor, Cambridge, Mass), Wilson Cruz(Noah's Arc), and Michael Brewer(Activist, Morehouse College) were all honored for their success in their fields as openly gay individuals.
I had the pleasure of escorting Out 100 honoree Michael Brewer from Morehouse College. Brewer was recognized for his leadership and visibility on one of the most notoriously homophobic campuses among HBCU's. In April he created the 'No Mo Homo' Initiative aimed at eradicating homophobia at Morehouse and creating a safe environment for all Morehouse men to achieve greatness regardless of sexual orientation.
Guests were treated to a fabulous open bar, hors d'oeuvres, and a erotic performance by Cirque' du Soleil's Zumanity, rock singer Nikka Costa, Out 100 honoree Sam Sparro, and the highly anticipated reunion performance of LaBelle.
R&B singer Michelle Williams presented awards to Broadway actor Cheyenne Jackson(Xanadu) and openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson.
Prop 8 was on the minds of many and found it's way into almost every acceptance speech. Of particular note was Bishop Robinson's plea to not let the media create divisions between the gay and the black community, "the religious right in this country are our enemies, not the black community", said Robinson.
The sound in the venue was horrible, ( and Ms.Patti wasn't shy about addressing this problem onstage) but I managed to pull together some footage from the event for you. Get into the performances in the video below, especially the ladies of LaBelle along with a few surprise guests.