LOS ANGELES The Better Brothers Los Angeles ( BBLA ) in association with award-winning actress/activist Sheryl Lee Ralph and her non-profit organization, the DIVA Foundation, are happy to announce that NBA referee Violet Palmer will receive the Lifetime Achievement at the Fourth Annual Truth Awards. The Truth Awards will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at the Taglyan Cultural Complex, located at 1201 Vine Street in Los Angeles. Festivities will kick off at 6 p.m. with red carpet arrivals and a VIP reception.
The black-tie affair will honor African-American, trailblazing men and women whose personal and professional accomplishments have positively impacted the perception and image of the Black LGBTQ community. The Truth Awards embody the belief that members of the Black LGBTQ community and its allies who embrace and live their truth should be recognized and honored.
"Violet Palmer is a real game changer," says Ralph. "As a woman, she shattered the glass ceiling in the world of professional sports while living out her truth as a gay woman. By making historic gains in the NBA, Violet scored big wins for gender equality and LGBT rights for the next generation of women coming behind her."
Palmer is the first female to officiate an NBA game, and became the first openly gay referee in NBA history. After 19 years, serving in that capacity, she retired from the sport, and now serves as a consultant to the basketball league. Early in her career, she worked tenaciously to topple gender barriers in professional sports and earned the respect of her peers. In nearly two decades as an NBA official, Palmer has officiated 930 regular season games and nine playoff games, as well as the 2014 All-Star game in New Orleans. Before joining the NBA, Palmer officiated in the WNBA during the league's inaugural season, including the 1997 WNBA Championship. Two years later, Palmer won the Naismith Award for Official of the Year. Currently, Palmer is the coordinator of Women's Basketball Officials for the Pac 12 Conference, the West Coast Conference ( WCC ) and the Western Athletic Conference.
Prior to becoming an official, Palmer was a successful student athlete as a basketball player at both the collegiate and high school levels. She was a four-year letter winner at California Polytechnic University at Pomona, where her team won the NCAA Division II Finals in 1985 and 1986. In high school, she played for the varsity girls' basketball team at Compton High School for four years, and tapped as captain during the last three years. During her senior year, she was named "Team Most Valuable Player" as well as nabbing "All League" honors during her junior and senior years, respectively.
Along with Palmer, the Truth Awards will honor Emmy Award-winning director/producer Anthony Hemingway ( "Underground" and "American Crime Story" ) with the Culture and Arts Award; journalist Tre'Vell Anderson of the Los Angeles Times with the Passing the Torch Award; the "Eyebrow King," celebrity makeup artist Damone Roberts, owner of the Damone Roberts Beverly Hills® and Damone Roberts New York® with the Business Leadership Award; and entertainment publicist Ellene Miles of EV Miles Media Group with the Media Arts Award.
The DIVA Foundation and its founder Sheryl Lee Ralph are especially pleased to continue their partnership with BBLA on this effort. Both organizations believe a healthy Black community — one where individuals are allowed to live their truth, free of shame and stigma, and are recognized as equal and rightful members of the community — is a critical piece in the fight to also end HIV/AIDS. The 2018 honorees represent various fields, including entertainment, sports, beauty, business and media.
Notable allies in Black Hollywood will join Ralph in presenting the awards to the Truth Awards recipients. Past honorees include Emmy-winning actress Loretta Devine, reality star Wendell James ( "Raising Whitley" ), author/writer James Earl Hardy, transgender model Tracey "Africa" Norman, celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine, Grammy-nominated producer/singer/songwriter B. Slade, advertising executive Aaron Walton of Walton Isaacson ( WI ), and activist and night club owner Jewel Thais-Williams — just to name a few. For more information about the Truth Awards and its honorees, visit www.BetterBrothersLA.com/truthawards .
For a recap of the Third Annual Truth Awards, visit youtu.be/PEHCr1eIZlE .
For a recap of the Second Annual Truth Awards, visit youtu.be/VXF6hHJRCXE .
Tickets prices vary from $150 to $250. For ticket information, visit www.truthawards4.eventbrite.com .
The Truth Awards will benefit BBLA and its partnership with the DIVA Foundation, which has initiated several initiatives aimed at affirming and strengthening the African American LGBTQ community educationally, financially, physically and socially. For more information about the organization and its scholarship program, visit www.BetterBrothersLA.com .
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ABOUT BETTER BROTHERS LOS ANGELES ( BBLA )
Better Brothers Los Angeles ( BBLA ) was created to provide spaces for members of the Black LGBTQ community to network, socialize and be BETTER — at life, love and community. Developing a sense of community has been a challenge for some within our community, given the cultural and religious opposition to our orientation and gender identity. As those challenges have receded in mainstream society, they still present significant difficulties and sometimes constrain a healthy sense of well-being. Since our inception, BBLA has sponsored cultural, informational, recreational, and social/networking events. We continue to sponsor and create opportunities that increase community confidence and pride. Visit www.BetterBrothersLA.com
ABOUT THE DIVA FOUNDATION
The DIVA Foundation — founded in 1990 by Tony-nominated actress and HIV/AIDS advocate Sheryl Lee Ralph — is a 501( c )3 non-profit organization, created as a living memorial to the many friends she lost to HIV/AIDS as an original cast member of the Broadway musical "Dreamgirls," and because of her concern for the threat HIV/AIDS posed to women and children. Over the years, the DIVA Foundation has worked to break the silence and erase the stigma still connected to HIV/AIDS and encourage people to get tested in order to know their HIV status.