GLAAD announced today that it would honor multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning pop icon Britney Spears at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday, April 12, 2018.
Spears will receive GLAAD’s Vanguard Award; a tribute presented to media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance of LGBT people. Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Jennifer Lopez, Cher, Kerry Washington, Elizabeth Taylor, Whoopi Goldberg, Antonio Banderas, Drew Barrymore, Janet Jackson, Demi Lovato, Eric McCormack, Josh Hutcherson, and Patricia Arquette.
Spears is a longtime ally and supporter of the LGBT community. She has consistently stood up for LGBT youth on GLAAD’s Spirit Day by going purple on social media to speak out against bullying. In 2015, she released a Spirit Day video and promoted participation in the anti-bullying campaign by organizing a meet-and-greet for LGBT fans, washing her stage at Planet Hollywood purple, and providing anti-bullying materials to concertgoers. In 2016, she was among over 20 music artists to appear on GLAAD’s song “Hands,” released with Interscope Records to remember the 49 lives taken in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. In 2017, Spears was among 140 leading entertainers including Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, Laverne Cox, and Whoopi Goldberg to speak out in an open letter against two anti-LGBTQ bills, which targeted transgender youth in Texas and were later defeated. Most recently, Spears sparked global attention when she wore a T-shirt stating ‘We Are All Dreamers’ and called on Congress to pass the Dream Act via Instagram.
Spears also has a legacy of deeply embracing her LGBT fans. She wrote a highly publicized letter to a young gay man who considered suicide but credited her music and lyrics with giving him the courage to come out and be true to himself. She wrote to him: “I was very happy to hear how courageous you’ve been about being openly gay. I’ve always been told as long as you know in your heart that’s what matters most.” After a gay couple who met at the opening of “Britney: Piece of Me” married, she surprised them with a touching video to send congratulations and show her support for marriage equality. Most recently, for LGBT Pride Month in 2017, Spears penned a heartwarming love letter to the LGBT community on Billboard Pride in which she shared that the community’s unwavering loyalty and acceptance uplift and inspire her. “I have a secret to share with you. You see it’s you that lifts me up. The unwavering loyalty. The lack of judgment. The unapologetic truth. Acceptance! Your stories are what inspire me, bring me joy, and make me and my sons strive to be better people.”
“An irrefutable icon, Britney Spears has entertained the world while also embodying the spirit of GLAAD’s Vanguard Award by speaking out on significant issues that face her fans — from the Dream Act to anti-transgender bills in Texas,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “She is a force in the music world who has used her global platform to share messages of love and acceptance, something that the world needs today more than ever.”
In January, GLAAD announced 125 nominees in 21 English-language categories and 16 Spanish-language nominees in four categories. The nominees for the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards were announced during the Sundance Film Festival by actors Wilson Cruz (13 Reasons Why) and Trace Lysette (Transparent). Nominees across entertainment and news media included This Is Us, Call Me by Your Name, Lady Bird, Battle of the Sexes, A Fantastic Woman, Billions, The Voice, Will & Grace, Andi Mack, Halsey, Kesha, Kehlani, Teen Vogue, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, NBC Nightly News, HuffPost, and CNN en Español. GLAAD announced a Special Recognition Award for Jay-Z’s song and music video “Smile” featuring his mother Gloria Carter who used the song to come out as a lesbian as well as a Special Recognition Award to the animated short film In A Heartbeat. Nominees can be found here: www.glaad.org/mediawards/nominees