What Does the Future of LGBTQ Media Look Like?
What Does the Future of LGBTQ Media Look Like? Celebs Answer at the GLAAD Awards
Superfruit, Clark Moore, Nafessa Williams, Hannah Hart, and more sound off on what's next!
Welcome to PRIDE's LGBT entertainment podcast, WerQ!
Culture and entertainment writer Taylor Henderson crashes the GLAAD Rising Stars Luncheon and talks to some of the stars of a few of our favorite LGBT shows and movies about the future of queer media!
GLAAD is dedicated to the diversification of media, not only for LGBTQ folk, but black and brown people, immigrants, and anyone else has ever felt marginalized. Stars from everywhere between Love, Simon and 13 Reasons Why came together to celebrate this year's queer representation, and they had a lot to say about where film and music industries are going.
Andi Mack received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Kids & Family Programming for their emotional storyline involving Cyrus's (Joshua Rush) coming out, the first of its kind on the Disney Channel. When asked about the importance of representation, Rush truly believes that, "Everyone deserves the chance to see themselves on tv."
Co-star Stoney Westmoreland, an openly gay actor who plays Andi Mack's dad, pointed out how much society has progressed since his heydey. "When I came out to my father, it was a much different world twenty-five years ago, he explained. "When you watch these kids today, the fluidity of the world we live in is here, and it's real, and it's what's going on. To see it represented on screen is an amazing thing for all of us."
\u201cCONGRATS! #AndiMack has won the inaugural Kids and Family Programming Award, presented at the #GLAADawards Rising Stars event https://t.co/QcgXtlGEY5\u201d— GLAAD (@GLAAD) 1523479178
Openly gay country artist Brandon Stansell is proud to be a part of an industry where he's not very well represented (yet). "Country music is a place where we [LGBTQ people] are usually undercounted," he told PRIDE. "So I'm happy to at least raise my head and be noticed."
Atlanta native Clark Moore, who you might remember as the quick quick-witted openly gay kid in Love, Simon, wants to see more storylines involving black LGBTQ people, and maybe even "dive into characters like [Love, Simon's] Ethan."
\u201cWe\u2019ve got the @lovesimonmovie cast here helping us honor young people who are accelerating acceptance for LGBTQ people. #GLAADawards \u2764\ufe0f\ud83c\udfa1\u201d— GLAAD (@GLAAD) 1523473262
Atypical actor Nik Dodani, who shared that he was openly gay, agreed. "Personally I would love to see more people of color storylines. I think that's the next frontier. Moonlight showed that it is viable and can be successful and I think we need more of that. Especially now, we need as many voices are possible in the media landscape. I would love to see some color. Some queer color would be great." Dodani mentioned his role in the upcoming film Alex Strangelove, a gay coming of age story he described as Pretty in Pink meets Superbad meets Love, Simon.
Isabella Gomez plays the first openly out lesbian character in a sitcom on One Day At A Time and is amazed that her character Elena's story, as well as many Latinx stories, haven't yet been told. "The fact that they haven't been represented is just inaccurate to the human experience."
Superfruit stars Scott Hoying Mitch Grassi are changing the landscape of pop music with their recent album Future Friends, where they proudly lust after guys and sing about bad relationships. "It's so insanely important that people are singing about boys," said Hoying. "We don't get enough of it. For so many years, me included, I tried to shape the way I portrayed myself and it wasn't healthy. It's not healthy for anyone. Representation is so important so kids are just inspired to be themselves."
Grassi added, "It's about not being ashamed of who you are. We want to live loudly and proudly."
\u201cWe had a blast performing at @GLAAD\u2019s Rising Stars Luncheon today! We are inspired by the program and all the ways it helps local LGBTQ+ communities. #GLAADawards\u201d— Superfruit (@Superfruit) 1523481967
Nafessa Williams, who plays television's first black lesbian superhero on Black Lightning is hyped to play such a groundbreaking character. "Young lesbians, especially black in particular, are seeing me and see themselves and are inspired and empowered to really embrace who they are. Representation matters!"
GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis really drove the point home, "When you see yourself, your world, your life reflected on television, you can see a future for yourself."
\u201cWhat a dream team. #BlackLightning star @NafessaWilliams with our superstar board member @harto and CEO @sarahkateellis. \ud83d\udcaa\u26a1\ufe0f\u2b50\ufe0f\ud83d\udd25 #GLAADawards\u201d— GLAAD (@GLAAD) 1523476707
"There are so many people in this country who might not personally know someone who is trans," she added. "But they might know someone on a tv show who's trans and they can relate to that and they understand them better. That understanding develops acceptance and we need acceptance in this country."
It looks like LGBTQ stories, particular ones at the intersections of a wide variety of identities, are what's going to change the world for the better. Listen below for more takes from Hannah Hart, Jazz Jennings, Sarah Kate Ellis, Luna Blaise, Peyton Elizabeth Lee, Lilian Bowden, and Lauren Tom. The stars also reveal music/films/tv shows their obsessed with right now. (Mostly Cardi B and Love, Simon)
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