Oprah! Niecy! Kate! The Stars Were Out At The GLAAD Awards

by Eddie Roche
Oprah Winfrey.

You might have thought that awards season technically ended when the Oscars took place last weekend, but the red carpet ceremonies are still going strong in Hollywood. On Thursday night, the 35th annual GLAAD Media Awards welcomed a slew of big names at The Beverly Hilton for a starry night. The evening kicked off with a performance by newly-minted singer Kate Hudson (yes, that Kate Hudson!!!!) who performed her new single Talk About Love for an adoring crowd of LGBTQ+ guests. Wayne Brady, who recently came out as pansexual, was on hosting duty for the show which honored Oprah Winfrey and Niecy Nash-Betts.

Winfrey, dressed in a custom Christian Siriano purple suit, received the Vanguard Award and was introduced by her friends, iconic Chicago performer Chilli Pepper and celebrity host Paolo Presta, who once made a memorable appearance on her talk show back in the day. The beloved O gave a moving speech on stage where she honored her late brother and revealed a surprising family revelation.

“35 years ago, my brother, Jeffrey Lee, passed away when he was just 29-years-old from AIDS, “she said. “Growing up at the time we did, in the community we did, we didn’t have the language to understand or speak about sexuality and gender in the way we do now. And at the time, I didn’t know how deeply my brother internalized the shame that he felt about being gay. I wish he could have lived to witness these liberated times and to be here with me tonight.”

Paolo Presta, Oprah Winfrey and Chilli Pepper (Getty Images)

Niecy Nash-Betts, who came out in 2020, received the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, presented to her by her friend Sharon Stone. “If I’m honest, I never saw this life for myself,” she said. “I was always an ally, but now I am a card-carrying member! And I often get asked the question, ‘Niecy, what was it like for you, when you came out?’ And I always say, ‘Came out of where, baby? I was never anywhere to come out of!’ I didn’t live a sexually-repressed life. I mean, I loved boys, until I didn’t! I loved them until I encountered the most beautiful soul I’ve ever met.” She went on to thank her wife, the singer/songwriter Jessica Betts.

Niecy Nash-Betts (Getty Images)

Sharon Stone  (Getty Images)

Among the other big winners of the night were Fellow Travelers for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series presented by Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Ted Lasso for Outstanding Comedy Series presented by Alexandra Shipp and Sydney Sweeney, RuPaul’s Drag Race for Outstanding Reality Competition Program presented by Meredith Marks and Heather Dubrow, Reneé Rapp received the Outstanding Music Artist accolade, presented by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, and OUT magazine was recognized for Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage.

Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey  (Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

Jodi Balfour, Juno Temple , Hannah Waddingham, Billy Harris, Jason Sudeikis, Cristo Fernández, and Chuck Hayward,  (Getty Images)

The night included appearances by Hannah Waddingham, Jason Sudeikis, JoJo Siwa, Jonathan Bailey, Juno Temple, Liv Hewson, Matt Bomer, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Scott Evans, Shonda Rhimes, Sydney Sweeney, Dylan Mulvaney, and more!

Sherry Cola and Dylan Mulvaney  (Getty Images)

Kate Hudson (Getty Images)

The GLAAD Media Awards were presented by Gilead Sciences, Google Pixel, and Hyundai Motor America, with major sponsor, Hornitos Tequila, official sponsors Delta Air Lines, Ketel One Family Made Vodka, and Sony Music Group. Special shout out and thanks to the kind folks at Hornitos Tequila for having us at their table and for being a proud supporter of the LGBTQ+ community.

Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Kate Ellis (Getty Images for GLAAD )

The GLAAD Media Awards air on Hulu on Friday, March 29th.

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