LOS ANGELES – Powerhouse singer/songwriter and LGBT activist Frenchie Davis will lend her voice and perform at the Second Annual Truth Awards Gala and Dinner to be held on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at the Taglyan Cultural Complex, located at 1201 Vine Street in Los Angeles. Festivities will kick off at 6 p.m. with red carpet arrivals and a VIP reception. The event will be hosted by television personality and talk show host Rolonda Watts and Karamo Brown (TV One’s “The Next 15;” host of "The OWN Show" on Oprah.com; and MTV’s “The Real World: Philadelphia").
The black-tie affair will honor African-American, trailblazing men and women whose personal and professional accomplishments have positively impacted the perception and image of the Black LGBTQ community. The Truth Awards embody the belief that members of the Black LGBTQ community and its allies who embrace and live their truth should be recognized and honored.
The DIVA Foundation and its founder Sheryl Lee Ralph are especially pleased to continue their partnership with Better Brothers Los Angeles (BBLA) on this effort. Both organizations believe a healthy Black community – one where individuals are allowed to live their truth, free of shame and stigma, and are recognized as equal and rightful members of the community – is a critical piece in the fight to also end HIV/AIDS. This year’s honorees were picked from various fields, including the creative arts, entertainment, business, law, politics, and the ministry.
“It’s important that we uplift and recognize the accomplishments of African Americans in the LGBTQ community, who are living their lives unabashedly out loud and openly for all the world to see,” says Ralph. “Hopefully, by celebrating the courage of these gay, lesbian and transgendered individuals, we will encourage, inspire and motivate others to live their truth.” Notable allies in Black Hollywood will join Ralph in presenting the awards to the Truth Awards honorees.
A fan favorite and a Grammy-nominated recording artist, Frenchie became a household name after competing on season two of Fox’s “American Idol” and a finalist on season one of NBC’s “The Voice.” Last year, she released the single, “Stand (By Me),” from her upcoming debut album, titled “Finally Frenchie,” expected to drop this fall. In 2012, her debut solo single “Love’s Got a Hold on Me,” hit #12 on Billboard’s dance chart. The Howard University alumna has also sung for her supper on stage, lending her powerful pipes to “Rent” on Broadway as well as the touring companies of “Dreamgirls” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’," which nabbed her a Grammy nomination. Last year, she appeared in “Invisible Life” at Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater, a stage adaption of the book by the late, openly-gay, New York Times bestselling author E. Lynn Harris. Other theatre credits include “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Cinderella Enchanted.”
Frenchie’s acoustic version of Fetty Wap’s song, “Trap Queen,” went viral as the first installment of the Hip Hop Musicals on YouTube. To see/hear her performance, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOt_6TR3oeo
Also, check out her single, “Stand (By Me)” on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/missfrenchie-1/frenchie-davis-stand?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=facebook
Ticket prices range from $150 for general admission to $250 for premier seating. Tickets can be purchased online at www.truthawards2.eventbrite.com.
The Truth Awards will benefit the DIVA Foundation and its partnership with BBLA for several initiatives aimed at affirming and strengthening the African American LGBTQ community educationally, financially, physically and socially. For more information about the organization and its scholarship program, visit www.BetterBrothersLA.com
The Truth Awards is sponsored by the office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Gilead, Leaders Up, KTLA-TV, AHF, New York Life Insurance, and Columbia University-IRAAS. Special thanks to Miss Jessie’s, The Healing Place, Naked Juice and eONE.
2016 TRUTH AWARDS HONOREES:
And so, without further ado, here are the 2016 honorees of the Truth Awards:
· BISHOP DR. YVETTE A. FLUNDER – Lifetime Achievement Award – serves as the founder and senior pastor of City of Refuge United Church of Christ, and the presiding bishop of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. A native of San Francisco and a third-generation preacher with roots in the Church of God in Christ, Bishop Dr. Flunder is ordained in both the United Church of Christ and the Metropolitan Community Church. She has successfully united the message of the gospel with social justice ministry and action for more than 30 years. In 2014, Bishop Dr. Flunder served as the keynote speaker for the 26th anniversary of World AIDS Day at the White House. Last year, she was also named the “2015 Spiritual Hero” in the January issue of the Science of Mind, magazine, published by the Centers for Spiritual Living.
· AARON WALTON – Lifetime Achievement Award – is co-founder of Walton Isaacson (WI), a full-service advertising agency, with offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Miami and Tokyo. Walton’s boundless creativity and strategic acumen have made him one of the most admired executives in the worlds of advertising, brand marketing and entertainment. He was selected by Out Magazine as its 2014 “Innovator of the Year;” named to Ebony Magazine’s “2013 POWER 100” list; and picked by Out Magazine as one of the “100 Most Compelling People of 2010” – just to name a few. Under Walton’s leadership, WI was named “Advertising Agency of the Year” by Black Enterprise in 2015 and one of the “Small Agencies of the Year” in 2012 by Ad Age magazine. Also, WI made the Inc. 2014 5000 list, a ranking of the magazine’s fastest growing private companies in the United States. Walton has won a plethora of advertising and creative awards, including the industry’s prestigious ADCOLOR® Advocate Award.
· JUDGE DARRIN P. GAYLES – History Maker Award – is a United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida. President Barack Obama nominated Judge Gayles for the District Court on February 6, 2014. On June 17, 2014, the United States Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination by a 98-0 vote. When President Obama signed his commission, Judge Gayles became this nation’s first openly gay, African-American man to serve on the federal bench. Judge Gayles has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the “2015 Lawyers in Leadership Award” from the University of Miami’s Center for Ethics & Public Service; the “2015 Equal Justice Judicial Leadership Award” from the Legal Services of Greater Miami; and the “2015 Thurgood Marshall Leadership Award” from the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials.
· GERARD MCCALLUM II – Business Leadership Award – is the senior project manager at the San Francisco-based development firm Wilson Meany. He is responsible for the entitlement of the 298-acre Hollywood Park Tomorrow project, which includes the 75,000-seat NFL specification stadium and the 6,000-seat concert entertainment venue that will be set amongst a mixed-use retail and residential complex. He serves on various boards, including the Board of Commissioners for both the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commission (CALAFCO) and the Local Agency Formation Commission of Los Angeles County, (LAFCO).
- REV. JENENNE MACKLIN – Mentor Award – is a motivational speaker, a voice of empowerment, as well as a catalyst for transformation for those who seek to create a life of abundance, fulfillment, and success. Her commitment stretches from being associate pastor at Unity Fellowship of Christ with Bishop Carl Bean in the 1990s to her own spiritual community of Living in the Light Ministry, where she officiated for more than 15 years. In 2011, she founded Consciously Creating Your Life, to transform, inspire, and empower others, hitting the speaking circuit and sharing the stage with other prominent life coaches like Lisa Nichols. A Les Brown Platinum speaker, Rev. Macklin is a powerhouse, touching large and small audiences with her own blend of knowledge, wisdom, and experience. Using gentle nudges, she challenges her audiences to live their best lives, and delivers practical strategies for success.
· GREGORY BUNN and DEMETRIUS MCCOY – Mentor Award – are humanitarians and founders of the non-profit family support group, Angels Plight. Angels Plight partners with other community organizations like the American Red Cross and A Place Called Home to help families in need -- from distributing holiday cheer and feeding the homeless to visiting children’s hospitals and supporting women and children’s shelters. Working in the trenches, both Bunn and McCoy assist individuals in the rehabilitation, redirection and restoration of their lives, and offer a pathway to a normal way life devoid of drug abuse or destructive lifestyles. Together for more than 20 years, Bunn and McCoy took in three foster children (siblings), and raised them as their own.
- DARRYN HARRIS– Passing the Torch – is an individual of extraordinary talent, passion, and commitment to social and economic justice, sparked by the 1992 Los Angeles civil unrest. Harris currently serves as the director of External Affairs to Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37), where he draws upon his experiences, as district director in the California legislature. He is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a New Leaders Council alumni, and proudly serves as caucus chair of the California Young Democrats, as well as the founding president of the Black Los Angeles Young Democrats (BLAYD).
For more information about the Truth Awards and its honorees, visit www.BetterBrothersLA.com/truthawards
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ABOUT THE DIVA FOUNDATION
The DIVA Foundation -- founded in 1990 by Tony-nominated actress and HIV/AIDS advocate Sheryl Lee Ralph -- is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, created as a living memorial to the many friends she lost to HIV/AIDS as an original cast member of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls,” and because of her concern for the threat HIV/AIDS posed to women and children. Over the years, the DIVA Foundation has worked to break the silence and erase the stigma still connected to HIV/AIDS and encourage people to get tested in order to know their HIV status.
ABOUT BETTER BROTHERS LOS ANGELES (BBLA)
Better Brothers Los Angeles (BBLA) was created to provide spaces for members of the Black LGBTQ community to network, socialize and be BETTER – at life, love and community. Developing a sense of community has been a challenge for some within our community, given the cultural and religious opposition to our orientation and gender identity. As those challenges have receded in mainstream society, they still present significant difficulties and sometimes constrain a healthy sense of well-being. Since our inception, BBLA has sponsored cultural, informational, recreational, and social/networking events. We continue to sponsor and create opportunities that increase community confidence and pride.