Partnering with singer Jennifer Hudson and the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ), the W Chicago Lakeshore Hotel, 644 N. Lake Shore Dr., hosted a house party Jan. 14. "Turn It Up for Change" brought drag and high fashion straight from Boystown with local favs Trannika Rex and Shea Coulee. Promoter Legendary Damon sparkled down the runway while DJ White Shadow, and DJ Terry White were spinning tunes keeping folks dancing until late.
On the red carpet before the start of the show, Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson mentioned how she will always find an excuse to stand up for the LGBT community. She has become the brand ambassador for Turn It Up For Change and approached HRC in the first place to get the ball rolling. She did the launch party in New York to kick things off in October and continues to make appearances, depending on her hectic schedule.
The hotel has an award-winning commitment to the passing of gay marriage and it showed that night. Windy City Times spoke with vice president Anthony Ingham from Starwood Hotels and Resorts. He explained that the start of this campaign began in Washington at an HRC event where it was stated there would be a long battle to pass more marriage across the United States for gay people. This statement inspired the group and the W had already been working with HRC at that point for 10 years. "'Turn It Up For Change' takes our passion for music to amplify our fight for marriage equality around the U.S.," he said. "We have now had 30 events all over the country. They are all fundraisers so a percentage of our revenue goes to HRC, based on how many states have passed marriage equality, that's 36 so far, so 36 percent goes back to them."
Personality Precious Jewell did a little lip-synching to a Hudson tune before the entrance of the grand diva herself. JHud did a quick announcement before retreating to a roped-off VIP area without singing a song, but this was a night for donations including proceeds from the bar and an evening for creating awareness through celebrity and community.
The tide is turning, with more parties happening every month around the country. They have recently featured people like the outspoken singer Courtney Love and Oscar-winning comedian Mo'Nique. Follow more Turned Up times at Whotels.com/turnitupforchange .
Photos by Jerry Nunn