NEW YORK, June 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of Pride month and continuing the movement to uplift and empower Black Gay men, on Wednesday, June 21st, journalist, content creator and LGBT activist Emil Wilbekin returns with the Second Native Son Awards honoring renown contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley; successful business management consultant and renown philanthropist, Reggie Van Lee; and creative strategist, advocate and President of Next Model Management, Kyle Hagler in New York City. Additionally, the event will showcase a rare performance from Miss Lawrence, actor, TV personality, celebrity hair stylist who appears on Lee Daniel's hit show STAR on FOX.
Launched last November, the Native Son Awards was created by Wilbekin to honor and celebrate the achievements of Black gay men who have broken down barriers, defied stereotypes and made a cultural impact not only in the LGBT community, but also in the world. Past honorees have included Don Lemon, George C. Wolfe and DeRay Mckesson.
"The goal of Native Son since we've launched is to create a safe space where the black gay male community can fellowship, celebrate and empower each other, and—most importantly—see themselves," said Wilbekin. "It's remarkable to see how many positive responses we've received since we've launched and I'm excited that we can continue to celebrate individuals in our community whose achievements are beyond inspirational."
2nd Native Son Awards Dinner
When: Wednesday, June 21st, 2017, 7-11PM
Where: New York City, The Conrad Hotel: 102 North End Avenue
Notable Guest Attendees:
Sean and Terry Torrington of Slay TV will be hosting the Native Son Awards Facebook Live
André Singleton, of The Very Black Project, will be taking over the @nativesonnow IG account
Myles E. Lewis, writer for The New York Times, Essence and Okay Player, will be taking over the @nativesonnow Twitter
Kevin Harry, of KH Zine, will have a portrait studio at the event (Native Son X KH Studio)
Ty Hunter and Memsor Kamarake, celebrity stylists
Oscar James, celebrity hair stylist
Merrell Hollis, celebrity make-up artist
A longstanding advocate for LGBT issues, Wilbekin is passionate about showcasing greater and more diverse representations of black gay men in America. The Native Son Awards is part of a larger, grassroots, multifaceted initiative, which will include national empowerment workshops and talks, networking events, influencer dinners—all with the mission of connecting those within the often under- and/or misrepresented community of Black gay men. Forthcoming in 2017 will be the Native Son digital platform—an extension of the World of Wilbekin site—which will further connect the community and highlight upcoming events, and initiatives.
"The duality of being Black and gay today is sometimes challenging and oftentimes heavy—homophobia, racism, incarceration, mortality and issues of identity can weigh on our spirit, our feelings of self-worth and our very existence," noted Wilbekin. "I think that we're at a very important juncture in our community's collective history—one in which it is imperative to have a platform that uniquely speaks to our community and its needs—that's how Native Son was born."
The Second Native Son Awards are made possible by the generous support of corporate partners who believe strongly in supporting black gay men and the LGBTQ communities. Native Son is proud to be a part of Cadillac's mission to #DareGreatly, Hilton's LGBTQ initiative #HiltonCelebrates, with additional support from HBO and Belvedere Vodka who will provide cocktails.
"I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all." – James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
About Native Son
Native Son is a movement that exemplifies the duality of being Black and gay in a society that often shuns and belittles their unique experiences. This movement aims to create a safe space where the black gay male community can fellowship, celebrate and empower each other, and—most importantly—see themselves. From the world-renowned to the up-and-coming, Native Son aims to connect and celebrate the members of this influential, yet long ignored community in the realms of arts, business, media, fashion, politics and healthcare.
About Emil Wilbekin
Emil Wilbekin is a Creative and Strategic Media, Marketing and Branding Professional and On-Air TV personality living in New York City. He is also the President and Chief Creative Officer of World of Wilbekin (WOW!) a multimedia content brand—digital, print, social media, video, live events. Wilbekin has appeared On-Air discussing pop culture, fashion, style, entertainment and current affairs on The Insider, VH-1, MTV, CNN, Arise 360, Channel 4 News New York, The Today Show, BET, Revolt, and PBS. He is the former Editor-at-Large at ESSENCE Magazine. In this role, he was responsible for executing covers, overseeing the brand's talent relations, and developing 360 activations across the brand—connecting print, digital and live events.
Previously, Emil served as Managing Editor of Essence.com, where he was responsible for the development of original daily programming for the site. He also led the Essence.com editorial team and worked on the development of the site's unique offerings, which include videos, an online community, social media, tools and applications.
Prior to joining ESSENCE, Wilbekin had been the Editor-in-Chief, GIANT and Giantmag.com. Wilbekin also served as a consultant on Microsoft's official Lebron James website. In addition, Wilbekin was previously a reporter for AOL Black Voices, Contributing Editor to Paper Magazine and Bleu Magazine, and the VP of Brand Development for Marc Ecko where he also served as Style Guru for Complex. Wilbekin began his career as one of the founding editors of Vibe magazine, where he also served as the Style Editor, Fashion Director and Editor-in-Chief. Under Wilbekin's leadership, Vibe won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. He also served as the VP of Brand Development for Vibe Ventures, where he oversaw Vibe.com, mobile, books, and Vibe TV, and executive produced the first Vibe Awards.
Community service and mentorship is very important to Emil. He served on the boards of the Stonewall Community Foundation, DIFFA (The Design Industry Fights AIDS, LifeBeat, The Black AIDS Institute, and Gay Men's Health Crisis. Wilbekin's leadership and creativity have been honored by Harlem's Fashion Row, GLAAD, Hetrick-Martin Institute, HRC (The Human Rights Campaign), Stonewall Community Foundation, The Anti-Violence Project, and the Black Alumni of Pratt. Wilbekin holds a B.S. in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University.
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SOURCE Native Son