By Claire Downs and Haley Sprankle
The VH1 Trailblazer Honors are coming up on June 28th at 9:30/8:30c! To get ready for the social justice show of the year we’re taking a look back on some of last year’s best moments! Held at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, the gods and goddesses who pioneered the fight for equality were properly honored. Cyndi Lauper, the creators of Will & Grace, Max Mutchnick and David Kohan and legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey were the guests of honor on this fabulously memorable evening. Relive all the feelings that made us cheer, gag and have our edges snatched last year!
Alvin Ailey Dancers bare their souls in a performance of “I’ve Been ’Buked”.
The company performed moving choreography from Ailey’s signature work, “Revelations,” which tells the story of African-American tenacity and faith during slavery by using blues and spiritual music. It’s hard to believe this piece was first performed in NYC in 1960, with its modern wokeness and dramatic vocal choruses. The impact of Ailey’s dance and original songs are real, and can be seen in fashion, pop music, and choreography today.
Cyndi Lauper vows to take care of homeless LGBTQ youth.
As she accepted her Trailblazer Honor, Cyndi Lauper reflected that she “never set out to be a trailblazer,” but she couldn’t be a bystander. Wanting to take action led her to realize that the over-representation of LGBTQ homeless youths meant that many kids with different sexualities were being kicked out of their homes. In 2008, under the guidance of Nancy Pelosi, Lauper founded the True Colors Fund, which aims to examine and educate people on issues that LGBTQ youths face and end homelessness due to sexual orientation. Tonight, Cyndi vowed to continue her support by saying, “In America, things can happen here. We just gotta care enough, then we gotta take action.”
Hayley Kiyoko, Alex Newell, and Wrabel serenade us with their rendition of “True Colors”.
Paying tribute to honoree Cyndi Lauper, rising LGBTQ stars and future legends, Hayley Kiyoko, Alex Newell, and Wrabel blended their gorgeous voices to form a soothing trio for the ages! Their stripped down version of “True Colors,” was soulful and sweet. Let’s hope they can make this collab a regular thing!
The cast of Will & Grace reflect on their impact.
Looking back on their time as actors on Will & Grace, the cast had more than just savage digs (“You look as gay as a clutch purse at the Tony Awards!”) to share about their time creating one of the most groundbreaking TV shows.” Getting teary, Debra Messing said, “It’s a privilege to be a part of something that helped people love themselves and to tell their stories.” Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Vice President Joe Biden, and Andrew Rannells made cameos to express thanks to the amazing sitcom.
Will & Grace creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan credit vodka for the show’s success.
Accepting their Trailblazer award for Will & Grace, Max Mutchnick and David Kohan thanked Debra Messing for agreeing to be a part of the show. However, the creators reminded Messing that they “showed up to her apartment with two packs of Marlboro Lights and a bottle of Ketel One to beg you to do a pilot that we had just written.” Kohan responded, “Our thought was, if you were drunk and coughing, you physically could not say no.” Getting serious, Kohan commented, “Our goal was not to show what made gay characters different, but what made them universal.”
Julia Michaels is backed by a chorus of gay men…
…The NYC Gay Men’s Chorus that is! Singing her hit song, “Issues” in a stunning blue gown, the touching ballad got a powerful revamp with the help of the choir! Now if “Despacito” could get the same treatment…
Constance Stamatiou sums up all of our Pride emotions in a classic Ailey dance
Dancing Alvin Ailey’s original piece, “Cry,” principal dancer, Constance Stamatiou twirled, shook, and brought joy to the Trailblazers audience. A trailblazer in her own right, Stamatiou returned to dancing after a five-year hiatus to raise her two children, something that is unheard of in the dance world.
What song pumps up Sterling K. Brown, Connie Britton and Lea Michele? Find out and watch us celebrate Trailblazers on June 28 at 9:30/8:30c on VH1.