Lee Daniels joins Mo’Nique at Atlanta HRC gala

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imageAcademy Award-nominee Lee Daniels – the force behind powerful movies including “Precious” and “Monster’s Ball” – will join the growing list of boldface names at Human Rights Campaign’s gala dinner in Atlanta in May.

Daniels (top photo), who is gay and directed “Precious,” will join Mo’Nique (bottom photo) at the 24th Annual Atlanta Human Rights Campaign Gala Dinner & Silent Auction on May 14. The actress and talk show host won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Daniels’ gripping film and will receive HRC’s Ally for Equality Award at the dinner.

Local organizers of the HRC dinner announced the inclusion of Daniels on Wednesday as they continue the buildup to the event.

Daniels’ background is filled with bold stories as real and gritty as the narratives from the films he creates. By the age of 21, Daniels had founded and was running his own health care agency, providing nurses to private homes and hospitals; he was simultaneously trying to be a screenwriter. After selling his health care business and giving up screenwriting, Daniels began managing actors such as Loretta Divine, Michael Shannon, Natasha Kinsky, and Aishwarya Rai. He turned to producing as a natural result of trying to find and create great material for his clients; the organic leap to directing came soon after. Daniels received the HRC National Visibility Award this past October at the HRC National Dinner in Washington, DC.

imageEarlier this month, organizers announced that two longtime activists from Atlanta will also be honored at the event. Paul Plate, executive director of Positive Impact, will receive the Leon Allen & Winston Johnson Community Service Award. Attorney Jeff Cleghorn will receive the Dan Bradley Humanitarian Award.

In January, organizers hosted the first of three pre-dinner receptions. The event at Aurum in Midtown served as a launching pad for recruiting hosts, table captains and sponsors for the dinner. They also announced the dinner’s them, which is Our Stories. It’s an effort to “focus on our collective stories and the rich advancements for equality that are achieved when others connect real stories with the cause,” as the group explained on its Facebook page.

On Feb. 26, local HRC organizers hosted the annual Bowling for Equality to raise funds and awareness of the upcoming event.

On March 10, HRC hosted its second pre-dinner reception at the Loew’s Hotel in Midtown. The final reception is set for April 14. On March 30, the group hosts HRC 101: Get to Know the HRC! at Amsterdam.

Last year, nearly 1,000 people attended the event. State Rep. Simone Bell received the Dan Bradley Humanitarian Award; transgender activist Vandy Beth Glenn received the Leon Allen & Winston Johnson Community Service Award.


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