The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announced the full lineup for the 20th annual HRC National Dinner set to take place this coming Saturday, September 10, 2016, in Washington, DC.
Grammy and Tony Award-winning artist Billy Porter and Grammy Award-winning artist Estelle will perform. Special guests include Samira Wiley, star of Orange is the New Black; Nyle DiMarco, winner of America’s Next Top Model and Dancing With the Stars; author and transgender advocate Tina Madison White; comedian and LGBTQ equality advocate Dana Goldberg; and many others. As previously announced, Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine will deliver the keynote address, and Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) will speak at the sold out event.
“Vice Presidential Nominee Tim Kaine has spent his entire career fighting for the equal rights of all Americans,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “As part of the most pro-equality presidential ticket in American history, Tim Kaine will help ensure another four years of unprecedented progress for LGBTQ equality in this country and around the world.”
“Representative John Lewis is an American hero, and his lifelong work for the civil rights of all people has transformed our nation. In his nearly three decades on Capitol Hill, Representative Lewis has been one of the strongest and most outspoken champions of LGBTQ equality,” Griffin continued. “With all the progress we have made under President Obama, Tim Kaine and John Lewis will remind all of us just how important it is that we fight to elect a President who will champion LGBTQ equality every single day she sits in the Oval Office. We are honored to welcome them both to our 20th annual National Dinner.”
“We are honored to welcome an incredibly talented group of artists who have used their platforms to move equality forward and help change the lives of LGBTQ people for the better,” added Griffin. “With performances by Billy Porter and Estelle, and the opportunity to hear from Samira Wiley, Nyle DiMarco, and many others, this year’s HRC National Dinner will no doubt be an inspirational evening as we continue our fight for full LGBTQ equality.”
Billy Porter is a Tony and Grammy Award-winning singer, composer, actor, playwright and director. Among his numerous critically-acclaimed roles, Porter starred as “Lola” in the smash hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots, for which he won the 2013 Drama Desk and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. Porter told OUT Magazine, “There are many parallels between Lola and myself — mainly the idea of being an outsider and holding on to who you are. I think the joy and the pleasure of Kinky Boots is that it transcends sexuality, it transcends stereotypes, and it transcends fear, which I think motivates a lot of the bigotry and homophobia that exists in the world. It’s nice to reach people at a human level.”
Estelle has received widespread critical acclaim and numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “American Boy” with Kanye West, two Brit Award nominations, three MOBO Awards, and a World Music Award. She refuses to let barriers hold her back, and relates to the LGBTQ community through her own challenges and experiences she’s faced. According to one interview, “She feels her own encounters with harsh judgment have provided a special understanding of similar experiences faced by the LGBT community…and anyone who has ‘been told they can’t.’”
Known for her starring roles in Orange is the New Black and You’re the Worst, Samira Wiley attended theater and arts programs at Howard University in DC at a young age and went on to graduate from the prestigious Juilliard School. Wiley was awarded the HRC Visibility Award at the 2015 HRC North Carolina Gala. Speaking to the power of being publicly out and visible as an LGBTQ person, Wiley said, “Over the past few years since my own public image has increased tenfold, I have been overwhelmed to witness the profound ways that I am able to make a difference simply by living my life openly, and with love.”
Nyle DiMarco is the first Deaf person to win America’s Next Top Model Cycle 22 and Dancing With The Stars Season 22. As a founder of Nyle DiMarco Foundation and an honorary spokesman for Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids, DiMarco is passionate about language and literacy and advocacy within the Deaf Community. Last year, DiMarco came out publicly as sexually fluid to his followers on Twitter.
Author and activist Tina White built a career transforming businesses. A few years ago, she embarked on her most ambitious transformation project yet: herself. Her book, Between Shadow and Sun, describes her 50-year struggle to find her place in the world as a man, then her struggle to accept herself as a woman. Since coming out, Tina has become a vocal advocate for transgender people and their rights.
The 20th annual HRC National Dinner is expected to draw more than 3,600 guests. More information is available at www.hrcnationaldinner.org.