Michaela Jaé (Mj) Rodriguez to Receive Special ‘LGBTQIA+ Trailblazer’ Honor in LGBTQ Critics’ TV Awards Airing August 29 on Here TV and PlanetOut
Patricia Arquette, Tituss Burgess, Olivia Newton-John, Big Freedia, Fran Drescher, Gottmik, Jennifer Beals and SNL’s Punkie Johnson Set to Reveal Additional Winners in Two-Hour “Toast” to TV’s Best, From Mainstream to Queer+
Pose star Michaela Jaé (Mj) Rodriguez, whose turn as determined drag ball empress—and nurse—Blanca Evangelista on that slice-of-life drama made her the first transgender performer to score a leading-role Emmy nomination, will accept GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics’ latest LGBTQIA+ Trailblazer Award in the group’s Dorians TV Toast 2021 airing Sunday evening, August 29, 8pm ET, 5pm PT on Here TV and the PlanetOut channel on YouTube. Famed LA broadcasting veteran and LGBTQ rights activist Karel is the pre-recorded program’s lively host as well as executive producer. “I’m so thankful,” Rodriguez says during an interview segment in the show, adding her GALECA Trailblazer award carries unique meaning because it comes from “my community.” Though she is a Latina and Black trans woman, “Who I am is a human being first,” stresses Rodriguez. Yet her status as a groundbreaking role model is not lost on her. “There’s a generation behind me that needs to know what transness looks like, and also how we are being represented in the world. I’m going to keep trying my best and instill hope.”
Rodriguez, a pop/R&B singer as well as actress, recently released the video version of her summer hit tune, tellingly titled “Something to Say.” She next stars with Maya Rudolph in the Apple TV+ comedy series Loot. Rudolph plays a billionaire’s sudden widow, Rodriguez is the executive who runs the deceased’s charity foundation.
“Michaela Jaé is an extraordinarily talented actress and musician and it is our honor to celebrate her talents with the LGBTQIA+ Trailblazer Award,” says GALECA’s President, Monika Estrella Negra.”With trans women of color being the most vulnerable in our society, it is inspiring to witness Michaela breaking down doors in order to let others in. This award is much deserved and I am so excited to see what the future holds for her.”
Additional Dorian TV Award winners will be revealed across 15 categories in the two-hour program, a mix of award and magazine shows that celebrates the past TV season’s best performances and shows, from general to LGBTQIA+-themed. Jean Smart, Bowen Yang, Jason Sudekis, Showtime’s topical sketch and interview show Ziwe and the Marvel fantasy WandaVision are among the stars and programs vying for the group’s 12th annual Dorian honors. A full list of nominees can be seen here.
Presenters include Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Beals, Olivia Newton-John (unveiling the Campiest TV Show), TitussBurgess (Best Unsung TV Show), Fran Drescher, Big Freedia, Saturday Night Live cast member Punkie Johnson, Michael Cimino (Love, Victor), Hannah Einbinder (Hacks), Leyna Bloom (Pose), Jesse James Keitel (Big Sky), Josie Totah (Saved by the Bell), Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.), ABC 7 (Los Angeles) entertainment reporter Karl Schmid, RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Gottmik (a.k.a. Kade Gottlieb), actor-comic John Lehr (Hulu’s Quick Draw) and sitcom icon Jim J. Bullock (Too Close for Comfort, Alf).
In her segment, Rodriguez discusses her life as a Hollywood firebrand, what the just-ended Pose means to her, and her recent foray into pop/R&B music star (“I’m liking it!”). Other must-see moments: Lehr hilariously impersonates famed MSNBC stats expert Steve Kornacki as he speed-presents three Dorian categories, and The Voice season five contestant Morgan Mallory sings a catchy original pop song about the power of television. Plus, several GALECA members share thoughts on their all-time favorite shows, from Buffy The Vampire Slayer to Soap to ¿Que Pasa, USA?. During the show, viewers will be encouraged to post which TV programs and stars impacted their own lives via social media at #TV&Me.
“We’re reinventing the way award shows are structured,” says Karel. “We don’t go for typical acceptance speeches. We hear from the winners about what drew them to their project, how it changed them, and what and who have inspired them. And viewers get to hear from the Society’s journalists too, about how TV has expanded their world. Our format is entertaining, informative and relevant. TV’s power, so evident in our lives, demands that.”
All considered, “We’re thrilled that Here TV and PlanetOut will be the new home of the Society’s Dorian Awards,” adds Paul Colichman, CEO of Here Media. “Partnering with the talented Dorians team has been an absolute pleasure and we are no doubt excited to see who wins during the August 29th broadcast.”The Dorians TV Toast 2021 is produced by Karel Media and Brandon Riley Miller Productions with GALECA, with Karel and John Griffiths serving as Executive Producers.
Photo: Raen Badua