THE 15TH DIVERSITY AWARDS

Television: The Diversity Awards

The Diversity Awards have the best and brightest, Mo’Nique, Kenny Ortega, Brittany Snow, Sharon Leal, Nestor Carbonelli, Rex Lee, etc.

 

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Hairspray’s Brittany Snow and Elijah Kelley were on hand to pick up Nova Awards for being noteworthy up-and-comers.

Before the writers-strike began to wreak havoc with Hollywood’s self-congratulatory season of every imaginable awards show, one laudable event took place that deserves attention– the Diversity Awards.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t the extravaganza’s that the Oscars, Golden Globes and People’s Choice Awards have become. But the black-tie gala at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Globe Theatre had some hot stars strolling the red carpet, including the fun-loving larger-than-life Mo’Nique; the hottest director in town Kenny Ortega (High School Musical); Nestor Carbonelli (of Cane and Lost fame); Lisa Edelstein (House); Sally Kirkland, Kel Mitchell and Antonio Sabato Jr. (The Bold & the Beautiful star), who got the most attention from all the pretty starlets (and my wife Margie).

Plus an entourage of Hollywood’s sizzling young performers — Sharon Leal, Jon Heder, Romeo, Sticky Fingaz, Kal Penn, Shop Boyz hip-hop group, model Adrienne Janic, Tatyana Ali (Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and Idris Elba (Daddy‘s Little Girls). Hairspray’s Elijah Kelley and Brittany Snow were on hand to pick up Nova Awards for being noteworthy up-and-comers. Entourage’s Rex Lee said he should be “the poster boy for this event.”

 

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Entourage’s Rex Lee said he should be “the poster boy for this event.”

The theme of the 15th annual Diversity Awards was “Celebrating Diversity, The Best and the Brightest Make It Happen.” An enthusiastic crowd was there to honor achievement in putting a spectrum of talent in the spotlight. Asians, Blacks, Hindus, Latinos, big, small, old, young, etc., all were represented with pride.

The Multicultural Motion Pictures Association’s big night was supervised by the dedicated president Jarvee E. Hutcherson, who promotes the vision of the organization. Hosting were Debbie Matenopoulos (E!) and Kevin Frazier (Entertainment Tonight), with awards going to Leonardo DiCaprio  for his work on the eco-friendly documentary The 11th Hour. The producers accepted for the missing-in-action Leo.

Among the other productions honored were House, The Bronx Is Burning, Workout, Passions, Shark and The Office, plus CBS Entertainment for their diverse programming this season.

Nestor Cabonelli praised CBS for “all their incredible work to champion shows that support diversity. In the case of Cane, featuring a Latino cast in a network drama, yet making it relatable to people from all backgrounds. We’ve made a show everyone is proud of, and we’re looking forward to getting back to work after the strike.” But Nestor was tight-lipped about what’s in store on ABC’s Lost, other than noting “fans will be blown away!” Umm, literally?

 

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Sharon Leal from “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married” and “This Christmas”

Lovely Sharon Leal, who was in the big screen comedies Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married and This Christmas, was happy to report that she plays Cuba Gooding Jr.’s wife in the upcoming drama Linewatch. She also pointed out that her career would not be where it is today unless the daytime drama Guiding Light embraced diversity, giving her the opportunity to become a teen soap star. “I think the soaps deserve credit for being the first to break down barriers in so many areas.”

The awards show had a gala reception and a celebrity silent auction which benefited the MMPA’s scholarship fund. That furthers the organizations’ goals of helping those who want to foster a better understanding among all cultures, by showcasing how all of our lives, stories and histories are inextricably interwoven and linked. Plus, raising consciousness about the need for expanded and more realistic roles in the entertainment industry. Remember the gala’s theme was “the best and brightest make it happen.”

For more information, visit www.thediversityawards.org

 

 

 


Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.

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