Taye Diggs, Skai Jackson, Whitney Thore to be Honored at TLC's GIVE A LITTLE Awards
TLC announced today that its third annual GIVE A LITTLE Awards, presented in partnership with Love Is Louder, a project of The Jed Foundation, will take place on October 2, 2019 at Union Park Events in New York City. The ceremony will highlight advocates who work tirelessly to eradicate bullying and promote kindness for future generations. This year's event will be hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist and TLC personality Lisa Joyner ("Long Lost Family," "Taken at Birth").
Now in its third year, GIVE A LITTLE will honor multitalented thespian Taye Diggs, who is currently starring in The CW's "All American," actress, activist and author Skai Jackson, who has a forthcoming new book entitled Reach for the Skai, Whitney Thore, star of TLC's "My Big Fat Fabulous Life," and three national contest winners who were nominated for making a significant social impact in their communities: Danica Roem (first elected transgender delegate of the Virginia House of Representatives), Barbara Buckley and Angela, Christina and Mia Varney (Annie's Kindness Blankets), and Devin Moore (founder of #RaceToSpeakUp).
"We continue to be inspired by the tremendous work being done in communities all over the country by past and current GIVE A LITTLE honorees," said Howard Lee, President and General Manager of TLC. "TLC proudly shines a light on stories that champion authenticity, diversity, and acceptance, and which we hope encourage others to celebrate what makes them special."
GIVE A LITTLE is TLC's national, multiplatform campaign which empowers people to make a positive impact on the lives of those in need through the simple but transformative acts of giving a little time, support and compassion. Through this initiative, TLC is encouraging fans to take a stand against bullying and promote kindness throughout their communities.
As part of GIVE A LITTLE, TLC is partnering with Threadless, an online community of artists, to amplify the universal messages of love, kindness and acceptance during National Bullying Prevention Month (October) and throughout the year. Threadless recently hosted a design challenge amongst its artists to elicit submissions for unique bullying prevention-inspired t-shirts. The top design will be unveiled during the GIVE A LITTLE Awards ceremony, and the winner will receive a Grand Prize pack with a retail value of $1500. Fans can visit http://www.threadless.com//tlc-give-a-little/ to learn more.
The 2019 GIVE A LITTLE honorees:
In The CW's new drama "All American," Taye Diggs plays Billy Baker, the head coach of Beverly High's football team, who can't let go of his glory days in the NFL. He recruits Spencer (Daniel Ezra) from South Crenshaw, maybe because he sees himself in Spencer, maybe because he wants to win, or maybe a bit of both.
Diggs recently starred in the romantic comedy "Set It Up" opposite Zoey Deutch and Lucy Liu. He also starred in the independent film "River Runs Red," featuring John Cusack and George Lopez. Diggs also recently hosted the 24th Annual Critics Choice Awards. He was most recently seen on season four of "Empire" as Angelo Dubois. Diggs starred in three seasons of "Murder in the First," alongside Kathleen Robertson. For his role in the series, Diggs earned a 2014 NAACP Image Award nomination in the category of "Outstanding Male Actor in a Drama Series." His television credits include "Private Practice" (NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor), "Rosewood," "The Good Wife," "Daybreak," "Kevin Hill" (NAACP Image Award for Best Actor- Television), "Ally McBeal," "Will & Grace," "Ed," "The West Wing," "New York Undercover" and "Law and Order." Diggs and collaborator Shane Evans recently released their third children's book, "I Love You More Than." This book is a follow up to his first two children's books, "Chocolate Me" and "Mixed Me!" through MacMillan Publishing.
An acclaimed stage actor, Diggs was the first African American to star as the title role on Broadway in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." Additional theatre credits include "A Soldier's Play" (Second Stage Theatre), "Wicked," "Chicago," "The Wild Party" (Manhattan Theatre Club), "Rent" and "Carousel." Diggs' film credits include "The Best Man Holiday," "Baggage Claim," "Rent," "Chicago," "Brown Sugar," "Equilibrium," "Basic," "The Way of the Gun," "The Best Man," "Just a Kiss," "The House on Haunted Hill," "Go," "Drum," "Cake" and "Malibu's Most Wanted."
Skai Jackson was most recently seen as Zuri Ross in the Disney Channel comedy series "BUNK'D." The role, which reprised from the hit series "Jessie," earned Jackson a 2016 NAACP Award nomination in the category of 'Outstanding Performance by a Youth.' Her other television roles include appearances on "Boardwalk Empire," "Royal Pains," "Rescue Me," "Sesame Street" and the pilot "Louie," as well as a starring role in Hallmark Channel's "The Watsons Go to Birmingham." Additionally, Jackson has voiced various characters for "Dora the Explorer," "Bubble Guppies," "Team UmiZoomi" and "Kick Buttowski." She also recently starred on the big screen alongside Dwayne Johsnon in "GI Joe 2," "The Smurfs Movie," "Arthur," "Liberty Kid" and "The Rebound." Skai is a passionate advocate for anti-bullying and is quickly becoming a household name and a role model for younger generations by using her large following to stand up to bullies on social media. She hopes to continue to do so with her first book, "Reach For The Skai: How To Inspire, Empower and Clapback," which will be published by Random House and available in Fall 2019.
After Whitney Thore was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), she quickly gained more than 200 lbs. Once a slender dancer, Whitney felt like a skinny girl trapped in a fat girl's body and she felt as though her life was over. Struggling with self-doubt and societal pressures, but eager to continue sharing her passion for dance with the world, Whitney courageously posted a dance video on Youtube in January 2014. "A Fat Girl Dancing" became an overnight sensation and it turned her life upside down. Since 2015, TLC has been following Whitney as she juggles her dance career, continues to fight through body shaming while still managing PCOS, and navigates the hilarious and emotional circle of her family and friends. Following the success of her "fat girl" dance videos, Whitney launched the No Body Shame Campaign (#nobodyshamecampaign), a movement that works to fight the devastating effects of body shame and promote self-love and acceptance. This campaign encourages people to rise above the negativity that society imposes on anyone who is "different," and to live their lives to the fullest no matter what the scale says. The movement lives by the motto: "Love yourself. Live fully. No excuses. No shame."
The GIVE A LITTLE contest, which concluded on July 29, required an original short essay submission that demonstrated the actions and activities of each nominee in their pursuit to address and bring awareness to bullying prevention. TLC received nearly 1,000 entries from deserving people across the nation, and three submissions were selected for the grand prize. Each winner will be recognized during this year's GIVE A LITTLE Awards ceremony and they will also receive a $5,000 donation to the bullying prevention program of their choice.
The 2019 GIVE A LITTLE contest winners:
Despite running against a formidable opponent who mounted a mean-spirited and transphobic campaign against her, Danica Roem became the first transgender person to be elected as a delegate to the Virginia House of Representatives. She leads by example in showing the members of her community (Prince William County) that equality and public service can go hand in hand. Her dogged determination to support the citizens of her district has caused many to rethink long-standing and deep-rooted prejudices, showing them that we are all more alike than different and that our differences should be celebrated rather than scorned. Danica consistently rises above the bullying that she faces, and she serves as a wonderful example of how decency, truth and honor should be the hallmarks of an elected official. Shortly after her election, a reporter asked for her thoughts on the other candidate, and Danica's response exuded elegance and dignity: "He is now one of my constituents, and I am here to support him."
Barbara Buckley, Angela Varney, Christina Varney and Mia Varney
Annie's Kindness Blankets were created in memory of Anne Marie Varney, a mother of three: Angela, Christina and Mia. Annie's Kindness Blankets are meant to provide an everlasting hug to anyone that may need it, and to let people know they are never alone. THE FAMILY gives blankets to anyone who needs to feel some extra love. Everyone understands the comfort of wrapping up in a nice warm blanket, but knowing this blanket was handmade specifically for the recipient makes it even more special. Additionally, Annie's has worked with organizations to build beds for kids who don't have one, and they also create and provide custom-made blankets to go with each bed.
Devin Moore is a 15-year-old high school student who was first bullied in middle school. Several of his classmates racially cyberbullied him by photoshopping photos that placed a gun next to his head and put his face on top of a gorilla suit and in the trash. They also sent him images of a Ku Klux Klan member, a noose and a meme that said, "Black People Aren't Functioning Members of Society." Devin wanted to ensure that other kids wouldn't have to endure this type of treatment, so he founded an anti-bullying organization called #RaceToSpeakUp. His ultimate goal is to combat the ugliness that goes along with bullying and to make a positive, transformational impact on people. He doesn't want to see another kid die by suicide or go into a school with a weapon, and he is advocating for mandatory anti-bullying classes in school. Devin is working with New York legislators DuWayne Gregory and William Spencer to pass a state bullying law that will hold schools accountable and keep kids safe. Devin created a petition to get an anti-bullying law in place and it has garnered over 1,000 signatures to date. Additionally, Devin was chosen to be the Suffolk County Youth Task Force Leader, and he is traveling across the U.S. to raise awareness about bullying.