Native Son Awards Returns For Second Year Celebrating Black Gay Excellence

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.

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