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Jennifer Hudson Receives GLAAD Ally Award, 17 Years After Presenting It to Patti LaBelle

The 35th Annual GLAAD Media Awards celebrate Hudson’s advocacy and inclusivity


The 35th Annual GLAAD Media Awards shone brightly on May 11th, honoring stars and shows that champion fair and inclusive LGBTQ+ representation in the media. Among the luminaries celebrated was actress and producer Jennifer Hudson, 42, who received GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award for her tireless work promoting allyship and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people and issues.


Hudson’s journey with GLAAD comes full circle, as she had the honor of presenting the same award to legendary singer and actress Patti LaBelle 17 years ago. Now, she stands on the stage herself, recognized for her unwavering dedication to advocating for marginalized communities.


In her heartfelt acceptance speech, Hudson expressed her gratitude to the GLAAD community, emphasizing their role in making her feel welcome and loved. She shared,


You guys make me feel safe, loved my whole life. Welcome. And so therefore it is my mission to do the same. It’s about using your voice.”


Drawing inspiration from icons like Patti LaBelle and the late Aretha Franklin, Hudson urged everyone in the room to continue using their voices for positive change. She emphasized, “Continue to use your voice. And it is nothing like seeing others being blessed from your blessings.”


Hudson’s commitment to inclusivity extends beyond words; it’s about action. She fondly remembered her late mother’s advice, “I could show you better than I could tell you,” highlighting the importance of standing behind and beside each other, supporting, and representing one another.


The GLAAD Media Awards also recognized Hudson’s show, The Jennifer Hudson Show, which was nominated for and won the GLAAD Media for Outstanding Variety or Talk Show Episode.

The winning episode, “Jennifer Hudson Surprises HIV Activist with $10,000,” showcased Ian Haddock, an HIV activist and founder of The Normal Anomaly Initiative. On the show, Haddock was presented with a check for $10,000 from the Gilead Compass Initiative.


Among the star-studded attendees at the award ceremony was Jennifer Lawrence, who presented the Vito Russo Award to country artist Orville Peck. The event was hosted by Ross Matthews, co-host and producer of The Drew Barrymore Show and RuPaul’s Drag Race.


Peck, known for his groundbreaking work as an LGBTQ-identifying media professional, received the Vito Russo Award for his significant contributions to LGBTQ+ acceptance. His name joins the ranks of previous recipients like Billy Porter, Anderson Cooper, and Ricky Martin.


South African country musician Orville Peck was also honored during the evening’s proceedings. He received the Vito Russo Award for his work as an LGBTQ-identifying media professional whose work has significantly aided LGBTQ+ acceptance. Peck joins the ranks of previous recipients like Billy Porter, Anderson Cooper, and Ricky Martin.


In addition to Hudson’s recognition, awards were bestowed upon various other deserving recipients. Rustin won for Outstanding Film Streaming or TV, while Red White & Royal Blue secured the Queer Fan Favorite award. TV show Heartstopper was acknowledged with Outstanding Kids & Family Programming or Film—Live Action, and The Last of Us picked up Outstanding New Series.


Pentatonix’s Scott Hoying delivered a captivating performance at the event, and duetted with Loren Allred on “Come Alive,” while Allred also graced the stage with a rendition of “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman.


The evening was a celebration of progress, inclusion, and the power of media to shape perceptions and inspire change. As Jennifer Hudson aptly put it, “You are family. We are a family.”


For Hudson, her award is not just a recognition of her work, but a reaffirmation of her commitment to using her platform to uplift and empower all voices. As she concluded her speech, “Jennifer Hudson is going to cheer you up. Okay?”


In a world where representation matters more than ever, Jennifer Hudson’s advocacy and allyship stand as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all.


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