NBC chairman and Def Jam co-founder among those to be recognized for their commitment to equality
Def Jam Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons and NBC'c chairman of entertainment Robert Greenblatt will be feted at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards this year, the organization announced on Wednesday.
Simmons, whose entrepreneurial ventures also include clothing line the Phat Farm, will be honored with the Excellence in Media Award at GLAAD's New York ceremony on March 19.
In announcing the award, the organization cited Simmons' commitment to "full equality for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people," including a 2009 open letter to then-New York governor David Paterson urging marriage equality in New York, and a 2010 letter to the U.S. Senate in 2010 advocating the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios said of Simmons, "As a cultural icon, Simmons' steadfast support of our community has also encouraged countless gay and transgender people of color to be proud of who they are."
Greenblatt, meanwhile, will be bestowed with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which " is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for our community," at GLAAD's Los Angeles ceremony on April 10.
Noting Greenblatt's connection to programming featuring gay characters — such as "Oh, Grow Up," "The L Word" and "Shameless" — GLAAD said, "As an openly gay producer in Hollywood, Greenblatt has brought diverse, multi-dimensional LGBT characters to homes across America. "
GLAAD previously announced that singer Ricky Martin and "Pushing Daisies" actress Kristin Chenoweth at this year's awards ceremonies.