Billy Porter received the 2023 Anthem Beacon Award at the second annual Anthem Awards. The virtual awards program was launched by The Webby Awards in 2021 to recognize social impact work across the globe.
Porter received the award “to recognize his career-long commitment to breaking barriers for LGBTQ folks, destigmatizing HIV and empowering marginalized people everywhere.”
“This is precisely the time when artists go to work,” Porter said in accepting the award. “There’s no time for despair, no place for self-pity. No need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. This is how civilizations heal. Please remember this, and know, be hopeful, because the change has already happened. God bless.”
Porter has won two Tonys (for his starring role in Kinky Boots and as one of many producers of A Strange Loop), an Emmy (for his starring role in Pose) and a Grammy (for the Kinky Boots cast album).
Poet Amanda Gorman, who received her first Grammy nomination in November for best spoken word poetry album for Call Us What We Carry: Poems, received the Anthem New Icon award.
Gorman was honored “for the joy, elegance, intelligence and hope she brings to all her poems, from the Presidential Inauguration to the Super Bowl.”
“My call to action would be to vote,” Gorman said in accepting the award. “The future isn’t just something we hope for, it’s a future we must vote for.”
Other special honors went to: Gloria Steinem, Anthem Lifetime Achievement; Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield, founders of Ben & Jerry’s, Anthem Vision Award; Gabrielle Giffords, Anthem Advocate of the Year; Oleksandra Matviichuk on behalf of the Center for Civil Liberties and the People of Ukraine, Anthem Movement of the Year; Quannah Chasinghorse, Anthem Special Achievement; Abigail E. Disney, Anthem Special Achievement; and Hamdi Ulukaya, Anthem Special Achievement.
Winners in other categories included Lil Nas X, Ciara, Killer Mike, Tracee Ellis Ross, Stephen Colbert, Last Week Tonight, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Selma Blair and the cast of This Is Us.
Anthem winners were selected from nearly 2,000 submissions from 43 countries around the world by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences.
“Since launching The Anthem Awards in June of 2021, we have seen that social change continues to emerge as a dominant force in mainstream culture,” Jessica Lauretti, Anthem Awards managing director, said in a statement.
The Anthem Awards were founded by The Webby Awards in partnership with the Ad Council, Born This Way Foundation, Feeding America, GLAAD, Mozilla, NAACP, NRDC, WWF and XQ.
Fans can experience Anthem Call-To-Action Speeches from every winner including special achievement honorees at anthemawards.com.