Kerry Washington will receive the Vanguard Award at the 2015 GLAAD Media Awards, the LGBT advocacy group announced Tuesday.
The award is presented to media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equality. Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Jennifer Lopez, Kristin Chenoweth, Charlize Theron, Elizabeth Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Drew Barrymore, Janet Jackson and Sharon Stone.
Washington became the first African American woman to a headline a network TV drama since 1974 when she took on the role of Olivia Pope on the LGBT-inclusive show “Scandal,” which is executive produced by Shonda Rhimes. Her performance on the hit ABC show has earned her numerous accolades including Golden Globe, Emmy, and SAG Best Actress nominations as well as an NAACP Image Award for Best Actress.
In addition to appearing in LGBT-inclusive projects like “Scandal,” “She Hate Me,” and “Life is Hot in Cracktown,” Washington has spoken out in support of full equality for LGBT people. She has has participated in GLAAD’s annual anti-bullying campaign, Spirit Day, by wearing purple to show her support for LGBT youth, and talked about the importance of stopping bullying on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
Washington was also appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee of the Arts and Humanities in 2009, and in 2014 Washington was named to Time’s 100 Most Influential list.
GLAAD previously announced that Channing Tatum will present the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to out director Roland Emmerich at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards. Additional special guests and honorees for the Los Angeles event taking place at Beverly Hilton on March 21 will be announced.
“Throughout her illustrious career, Kerry Washington has consistently brought life to characters that encourage acceptance of LGBT people,” GLAAD president & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “Her outspoken support for equality, both here at home and abroad, has sent messages of hope and empowerment to fans all over the world, fostering dialogue that builds understanding and helps move hearts and minds.”