June 13, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Cynthia Erivo, Mickalene Thomas, and MUNA Honored at Star-Studded Event

Los Angeles LGBT Center Gala Raises $1.6M for LGBTQ+ Services

The Los Angeles LGBT Center raised $1.6 million at its annual gala held Saturday night at the Shrine Auditorium. Nearly 900 supporters gathered to honor Cynthia Erivo, Mickalene Thomas, and MUNA for their contributions to the LGBTQ+ community.

Hosted by actor, writer, and comedian Joel Kim Booster, the event featured a surprise performance by music icon Jewel, who joined power pop trio MUNA onstage for a rendition of their hit “Silk Chiffon.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MAY 18: Cynthia Erivo attends the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Annual Gala at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on May 18, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for The Los Angeles LGBT Center)

Cynthia Erivo, a Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning and Oscar-nominated actress received the Rand Schrader Award. Presented by Jada Pinkett Smith, the award recognized Erivo’s achievements in entertainment and her activism for the LGBTQ+ community. In her acceptance speech, Erivo highlighted the significance of art during polarized times, referencing her role in “Wicked” and the story of Elphaba.

Mickalene Thomas, an acclaimed multidisciplinary artist, was honored with the Vanguard Award. Tasha Smith presented the award, recognizing Thomas’s advocacy for the complexities of Black and female identity in the arts.

“As our community faces unprecedented challenges, we all have a responsibility to create change,” said Thomas. “Each and every one of us in the room has a responsibility in our own small ways—wherever you are, however, we involve ourselves within the community. It takes one person.”

MUNA, who performed at the event, received the Leslie Jordan Award for Excellence in the Arts from singer-songwriter Jewel. MUNA’s lead singer, Katie Gavin, spoke about the importance of striving for a better world despite challenges, honoring the late Leslie Jordan with her words.

The funds raised from the gala support the Center’s services, accessed more than 500,000 times per year by LGBTQ+ individuals. CEO Joe Hollendoner emphasized the Center’s role in combating increasing levels of hate and violence against the LGBTQ+ community in California.

“When our political opponents are at their worst, your Center is at its best,” Hollendoner said. “Nearly every day, I see a new young person arrive at our Anita May Rosenstein intergenerational campus, failed by the systems meant to care for them. But unlike the parents, schools, or religious institutions that have turned their backs on these teenagers, I see the Center opening our doors and welcoming these youth into a community like none other.”

Joel Kim Booster also announced the debut of the Center’s new PSA, “We Are Family,” voiced by actress Jennifer Garner. The event included three short films directed by Luke Gilford, featuring profiles of three Center clients, presented by RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni Symone, Valentina, and Laith Ashley.

Comedian Dana Goldberg led the live auction, featuring items from Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera. The gala was supported by Gilead Sciences, Inc., Glamazon L.A.—Amazon’s LGBTQIA+ Affinity Group, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Contractors State License Schools, Construction Insurance Agency, PS, U.S. Bank, and American Airlines as the official airline partner.

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