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The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) hosted the 42nd Annual Gracie Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Tuesday evening to honor women in the entertainment industry who are making an outstanding impact across media platforms.
Host Jeannie Mai from The Real told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet: “This is an unbelievable example of what the future should look like — color, background — of what we want to see in media. I [personally] want to see people who look like me, who talk like me, who go through hardships. Not always so model-esque and pretty.”
Rachel Platten sang “Fight Song” and “Stand by You” before she was honored with the Entertainment Impact Award. The singer-songwriter’s emotional speech left her in tears. “I tried for 12 years in this industry and got rejected a lot of times. Then I wrote that song about not giving up,” said Platten.
Debbie Allen was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by her daughter, Vivian Nixon, and her onscreen son on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Jesse Williams. The actress, singer and television producer said that through the years, she used her media presence to voice her experiences with racism and sexism.
“If we could have more women that are in charge, we wouldn’t have so many women that are coming out with these allegations of mistreatment,” Allen told THR. “I am from Texas in the ‘60s when civil rights and racism was the battle of every waking day. I couldn’t go to dance class because I was black. I went to a university but was denied entry because I wasn’t their preferred body type. But years later I got the gold medal and I stayed in the race.”
Rachel Bloom, star and co-creator of The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, accepted the award for best television comedy with co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna. The two revealed that their office is mainly comprised of women writing about real experiences based on their everyday lives.
“If there are no good female characters, then you are saying, ‘I don’t really care about representing half of the world,'” said Bloom. “I think a lot of the problem with female characters, especially when they are written by men, is a gross generalization but they are written as wish fulfillments: ‘Who is the type of girl I’d want to f—?’ Hopefully, we are writing from a realistic perspective.”
Donna Lynn Champlain won the award for best supporting actress in a comedy for her role in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. “I would love to see it keep moving forward to the point where we don’t even talk about it anymore,” she told THR. “I do feel like it’s moving forward. The fact that I am at this event is proof that it is moving forward. That I am on television is proof that it is moving forward.”
Other honorees who were not in attendance included America Ferrera (Superstore) for comedic actress in a leading role and Drew Barrymore (Odd Mom Out) for actress in a guest role. The View, Today, Hairspray Live! and Full Frontal With Samantha Bee also received honors.
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