Ricky Martin feted with top GLAAD honor

Recently out Ricky Martin received the Vito Russo award, named for a pioneering gay rights activist, at the 22nd annual edition of the GLAAD awards on Saturday. These kudos, held in New York City, were the first of three for the media watchdog with ceremonies to follow in both Los Angeles (April 10) and San Francisco (May 14).

Part of his public process included an appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” which won best talk show episode. Martin, who hails from Puerto Rico, was hailed for his work as a gay rights advocate in Latin America. During his emotional acceptance speech, Martin declared, “I just want to be free.”

Russell Simmons was honored with the excellence award for promoting acceptance in hip-hop music and advocating on behalf of equal rights for all. And the Scissor Scissors won Best Album for “Night Work.”

Twenty-five of the 32 awards in total were handed out during the Gotham ceremony hosted by Andy Cohen. Tina Fey accepted the TV episode award on behalf of “30 Rock” while Denis O’Hare did the same for top drama series “True Blood.”

Kudos for covering gay and lesbian issues went to CNN personality Anderson Cooper, newspapers The Star-Ledger and The Denver Post, “O” magazine and Essence.com.

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