LOS ANGELES — The Better Brothers Los Angeles (BBLA) in association with award-winning actress/activist Sheryl Lee Ralph and her non-profit organization, the DIVA Foundation, are happy to announce that award-winning actor Rockmond Dunbar will receive the Ally Award at the Fourth Annual Truth Awards. The Truth Awards will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2018 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 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.
“Very courageously, as a straight man, Rockmond has taken on roles as a black gay man, bringing to light contemporary issues, facing the African American community,” said Ralph, founder of the DIVA Foundation. “Through his art, he offers positive and thoughtful portrayals, which helps open the dialogue about the homophobia in the black community.”
Dunbar is part of the ensemble cast of Fox’s hit show, “9-1-1,” sharing screen time with Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett, and portraying, Michael Grant, a married man, who just recently came out to his family. He’s also portrayed a gay man in the 2006 hit indie, “Dirty Laundry,” directed by Maurice Jamal. Dunbar has been mesmerizing audiences for many, many years with his diverse television roles. His tv credits include CBS’s long running series, “The Mentalist,” FX’s smash hit “Sons Of Anarchy,” and Fox’s “Prison Break.” Plus, who can forget him as Pookie on BET’s “The Game” or Kenny Chadway in Showtime’s critically-acclaimed series, “Soul Food?”
On the big screen, he’s landed leading roles in various films, including “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” with Oscar winner Robert Downey Jr., Tyler Perry’s “The Family That Preys” alongside award-winning actresses Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard as well as “Highland Park,” starring Oscar-nominated actor Danny Glover. Behind the scenes, Dunbar is also a director, producer, and writer. He made his directorial debut with “Pastor Brown,” a Lifetime film, starring Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Keith David, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Nicole Ari Parker and Michael B. Jordan. His next directorial effort will be “Soul On Bikes,” based on the book of the same name about the East Bay Dragons, an African American Motorcycle Club out of Oakland, Calif.
Along with Dunbar, the Truth Awards will honor former NBA referee Violet Palmer, the first female to officiate an NBA game, with a Lifetime Achievement Award; the “Eyebrow King,” and celebrity makeup artist Damone Roberts, owner of the Damone Roberts Beverly Hills® and Damone Roberts New York® with the Business Leadership Award; singer/songwriter Rahsaan Patterson with the Music & Arts Award; entertainment publicist Ellene Miles of EV Miles Media Group with the Media & Arts Award; journalist Tre’Vell Anderson of the Los Angeles Times with the Passing the Torch Award; and reality star and health educator Chandi Moore with the Advocate Award.
This year’s presenters include actor Trevante Rhodes (“Moonlight”), actress Vanessa Williams, tv host and style expert Lloyd Boston, beauty expert Sam Fine, writer Benjamin Corey Jones (“Insecure”) and KTLA-TV reporter Kareen Wynter There will be a special performance by singer/songwriter Shanice, and DJ B-Hen will be providing the beats for the afterparty.
The DIVA Foundation and its founder Sheryl Lee Ralph are especially pleased to continue their partnership with 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. The 2018 honorees represent various fields, including entertainment, sports, beauty, business and media.
Notable allies in Black Hollywood will join Ralph in presenting the awards to the Truth Awards recipients. Past honorees include Emmy-winning actress Loretta Devine, reality star Wendell James (“Raising Whitley”), author/writer James Earl Hardy, transgender model Tracey “Africa” Norman, celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine, Grammy-nominated producer/singer/songwriter B. Slade, advertising executive Aaron Walton of Walton Isaacson (WI), and activist and night club owner Jewel Thais-Williams – just to name a few.
Tickets prices vary from $150 to $250. For ticket information, visit www.truthawards4.eventbrite.com.
The Truth Awards will benefit BBLA and its partnership with the DIVA Foundation, which has initiated several initiatives aimed at affirming and strengthening the African American LGBTQ community educationally, financially, physically and socially.
The Truth Awards are made possible with the support of Gilead, KTLA-TV, New York Life, Northrop Grumman, Columbia University IRAAS and Lambda Vodka.
2018 TRUTH AWARDS HONOREES:
At a glance, here are the other 2018 honorees of the Truth Awards:
VIOLET PALMER – Lifetime Achievement Award -- is the first female to officiate an NBA game, and became the first openly gay referee in NBA history. After 19 years, serving in that capacity, she retired from the sport, and now serves as a consultant to the basketball league. Early in her career, she worked tenaciously to topple gender barriers in professional sports and earned the respect of her peers. In nearly two decades as an NBA official, Palmer has officiated 930 regular season games and nine playoff games, as well as the 2014 All-Star game in New Orleans. Before joining the NBA, Palmer officiated in the WNBA during the league’s inaugural season, including the 1997 WNBA Championship. Two years later, Palmer won the Naismith Award for Official of the Year. Currently, Palmer is the coordinator of Women's Basketball Officials for the Pac 12 Conference, the West Coast Conference (WCC) and the Western Athletic Conference. Prior to becoming an official, Palmer was a successful student athlete as a basketball player at both the collegiate and high school levels. She was a four-year letter winner at California Polytechnic University at Pomona, where her team won the NCAA Division II Finals in 1985 and 1986. In high school, she played for the varsity girls’ basketball team at Compton High School for four years, and tapped as captain during the last three years. During her senior year, she was named “Team Most Valuable Player” as well as nabbing “All League” honors during her junior and senior years, respectively.
DAMONE ROBERTS – Business Leadership Award -- is known as the “Eyebrow King” and founder of the eyebrow salons Damone Roberts Beverly Hills® and Damone Roberts New York®, located on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. He is an entrepreneur, celebrity makeup artist, beauty therapist and motivational speaker. Roberts has sculpted the perfect arch and painted the faces of some of the world’s most beautiful and famous people, including Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Beyoncé, Gwyneth Paltrow, Taraji P. Henson, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Nicki Minaj, Channing Tatum and Robert Downey Jr., -- just to name a few. In 2016, he collaborated with cosmetic company, M.A.C. to create their “Brows Are It” collection and served as the expert face behind the line. He also teamed with nail polish giant, OPI, on a signature color, called “Damone Roberts 1968,” which sold out worldwide in just four weeks. Roberts has been a regular contributing beauty editor for Oprah.com. He’s graced the covers of some of the industry’s top beauty and fashion magazines, and his products have been featured on various shows, including “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The View,” “Good Morning America,” “Dr. Oz”,” “Access Hollywood,” as well as CNN, MSNBC, and BET. Roberts also starred in TLC’s makeover reality show, “Ten Years Younger,” and interestingly, landed a role in Ava DuVernay’s first acclaimed indie film, “I Will Follow,” released in 2010.
RAHSAAN PATTERSON – Music & Arts Award – is a neo-soul singer/songwriter, who got his start in show business at the early age of 10, portraying “The Kid” on Disney’s “Kids Incorporated” in the 1980s. After the show, Patterson began forging a serious career in the music business as a singer/songwriter, penning hit songs, including Brandy's “Baby” and Tevin Campbell’s “Back to the World.” In 1995, he signed with MCA and two years later, released his self-titled debut. With his soulful and jazz-infused renditions, Patterson’s fan base grew, and other albums followed, including, “Love in Stereo,” “After Hours,” cult favorite “Wines & Spirits,” and “Bleuphoria,” garnering positive reviews and landing spots on the Billboard charts. For his Christmas album, “The Ultimate Gift,” he nabbed the BET J Underground Artist of the Year award. On his last album, Bleuphoria, he’s worked with a plethora of artists, including Jody Watley, Shanice Wilson, Lalah Hathaway, Faith Evans, Andrae Crouch and his choir. Now, and independent artist, Patterson tours around the country and abroad, bring his own eclectic mix of soul.
ELLENE V. MILES – Media & Arts Award – is the vice president of Transform, a newly branded subdivision of THE MRKT, as well as the principal and owner of EV Miles Media, a specialized publicity-based communications agency focused on film and television content and promoting their creators. As vice president of Transform (THE MRKT), she handles the strategic implementation of multi-cultural publicity and marketing initiatives for a variety of clients, including Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Fox Broadcast Television, 20th Century Fox, WGN America and Paramount Home Video. Recent projects include the television series “Underground,” “Shots Fired,” “The Wiz Live!” along with such films as “Southside with You,” “Ghostbusters,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Rogue One,” “Arrival,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” – just to name a few. Miles served as the unit publicist for the upcoming fantasy-adventure film, “A Wrinkle in Time” by Walt Disney Studios, starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Chris Pine, set for release March 2018. Interestingly, Miles began her career in 2001, working for with the DuVernay Agency, helmed by award-winning publicist-turned-director Ava DuVernay. During her eight-year stint, she immersed herself into every facet of the company, and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the director of publicity and programming. Other stints include working as the publicity director for the award-winning lifestyle-marketing agency Liquid Soul Media.
TRE’VELL ANDERSON – Passing the Torch Award -- is a film reporter with the Los Angeles Times, covering the intersections of diversity and Hollywood with a focus on black and queer film. A sociology graduate from the nation’s headquarters for black male excellence, Morehouse College in Atlanta, Anderson also received a master’s in journalism from Stanford University. Anderson serves as president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. In 2016, Anderson’s article on the closure of Los Angeles’ last black-owned gay club was honored with an award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. That same year, they spearheaded The Times’ #OscarsSoWhite coverage, which was recognized by the Online News Association. When not tweeting, you can find them jamming to the latest album of R & B singer Fantasia or indulging their inner Southern belle with food that reminds them of home -- that is, Charleston, S.C.
CHANDI MOORE – Advocate Award – is a nationally-recognized HIV and trans activist. She became an immediate fan favorite on the E! docuseries, “I Am Cait,” with reality star and Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete Caitlyn Jenner. Transgender and HIV positive, Moore has extensive experience in working with trans and gender non-conforming youth. Currently, she holds a position with the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) as a health educator for its Trans Youth program. In her current role, she leads a nationally-recognized and evidenced-based trans youth-specific project called BLUSH – that is, Brave Leaders Unified to Strengthen Our Health. Moore is also a commanding public speaker and facilitator, addressing topics related to HIV testing, treatment and care. She previously served as co-chair of the Transgender Service Providers Network (TSPN). Three years ago, she was named as one of Advocate magazine’s “25 Trans Pioneers Who Took Us Past the Tipping Point in 2015” and recipient of the Positive Images Statement of Courage Award. That same year, she also joined forces with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for its Act Against AIDS (AAA) initiative called “Doing It,” which encourages the community to get tested for HIV and to know their 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. Visit www.BetterBrothersLA.com
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.