Music icon Mariah Carey has been awarded the Ally Award at the annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York.
The singer, songwriter and actress was honoured on Saturday night for voicing her support for the LGBT community over the years, in particular backing marriage equality and campaigns against LGBT bullying.
Fresh from her tour in South Africa, the star was presented with the award by friend and film and television producer Lee Daniels, co-creator of the series Empire and director of films like Precious.
“I had to learn a whole new alphabet to introduce and not un-include people… I don’t want to do it wrong. I decided that if I have to memorise it, I might as well elaborate on it,” Carey told the audience.
“So we have L, legendary; G, gorgeous; B, beautiful — all of you beautiful people; T, tantalizing. And even Q, for quality!” she quipped.
Speaking to Billboard on the red carpet at the event, Carey explained that the award meant something special to her.
“Some awards are about statistics and things like that, and some are about like something a little more real. Do you know what I mean?” she said. “This feels like one of those moments, so I think it’s great.”
The event was hosted by transgender actress Laverne Cox, and was attended by an array of American celebrities.
Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence presented Robert De Niro with GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award; presented to media professionals who have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community through their work.
In his acceptance speech, De Niro celebrated the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision for marriage equality, while cautioning to “also remember oppressive laws like the ones in North Carolina that let us know the struggle continues and challenges us to be vigilant and aggressive in protecting all our rights.”
Caitlyn Jenner went on stage to join television journalist Diane Sawyer to receive the Outstanding TV Journalism Award for Sawyer’s groundbreaking “coming out” interview with the former Olympic athlete.
The programme was watched by 16.9 million viewers in the US, leading to 972,000 tweets, largely supportive of Jenner.
Jenner said that when she agreed to do the interview she wanted to ensure that it would “elevate not just me but this community…”
Caitlyn Jenner and Diane Sawyer
She continued: “Our community does not deserve to be down here — trashed, mocked in the tabloids. Our community deserves to be up here, done right. We are here, we are people, we are human beings.”
Jenner added: “It has been quite a ride for the past year. And there is nothing better in life than living your life authentically.”
Additional awards went to Cosmopolitan for Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage; Tangerine for Outstanding Film – Limited Release; and Anderson Cooper 360 for Outstanding TV Journalism Segment for “Interview with Jim Obergefell” (the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that legalised same-sex marriage in the US).
A number of other articles and journalism on LGBT issues were also honoured on the night.