Throughout history, art has defended the human spirit. Especially in times of political crisis, art and activism become inextricably related.
This was clear after attending Logo’s Trailblazer Honors, which celebrates the work of honorees who have made indelible contributions to LGBT civil rights—through writing, dancing, singing and producing. This year’s honorees included Cyndi Lauper; activist and author Cleve Jones (his memoir, When We Rise, inspired ABC’s miniseries by the same name); the late Alvin Ailey, who is credited with making modern dance an inclusive space for LGBT African-Americans; and the creators of NBC’s Will and Grace, Max Mutchnick and David Kohan.
As Viacom refocuses under the leadership of CEO Bob Bakish, this rapid-fire concentration of noteworthy properties distills the impressive breadth and depth of Viacom’s multi-brand portfolio.
Here’s a day-by-day look at what’s already dropped and what’s to come over the weekend:
Wednesday, June 21 – Transformers: The Last Knight – Paramount Pictures
It is the fifth installment in the live-action Transformers spectaculars directed by Michael Bay, an intriguing collision of ancient epochs with the robot alien present, and a special effects masterpiece.
“…[I]f you’re not staggered by the technique on display here – the stuff that sets Bay’s work miles above the Fast & Furiouses, X-Men: Apocalypses and Tom Cruise-chasing Mummies of this world – you’re not paying attention,” writes The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin.
Here’s a preview of what he’s talking about:
Since the first Transformers movie hit theaters in 2007, the franchise has raked in nearly $4 billion for Paramount and redefined important elements of the movie industry. “Ever since the first movie in the robo-franchise was released into theaters a decade ago, the film industry has changed its approach to producing, releasing and reporting on movies,” writes The Street’s Buster Coen, noting that the films legitimized toy-to-cinema adaptations, stamped June as a month for movie blockbusters, and set the template for international distribution of American films.
Transformers: The Last Knight is in theaters around the world now. A Bumblebee spin-off is scheduled for release next summer.
With a cast of complex characters unified by their small-town setting, the deft use of suspense and drama, and some imaginative writing, Spike has transformed Stephen King’s 1980 novella about a sinister, monster-filled cloud descending upon a small Maine town into a 10-part serial that debuted last night.
And it’s really good, according to a platoon of critics who got an advanced look at the pilot. “Spike’s new series based on The Mist … wasn’t written by King, but it does the author proud ,” writes CNET’s Gael Fashingbauer Cooper.
The series was written, rather, by a team led by Denmark native Christian Torpe, who is a lifelong King fan and consulted with the author at the project’s outset. King simply told him, “Don’t do anything ordinary.”
Torpe appears to have succeeded, leaving even those familiar with King’s original work in suspense. “It’s hard to judge where this newer, looser adaptation might progress from just the first hour, but Torpe has said that, like King, he intends to explore the nature of fanaticism, and how fear so often compels people to seek out unlikely prophets,” writes The Atlantic’s Sophie Gilbert. “If so, The Mist could be a satisfyingly complex chiller, scaring viewers not just with unexpected jumps and amped-up creepy crawlies, but with the more human monsters who are all trapped together inside, waiting out the weather.”
The Mist premieres at a time of incredible momentum for Spike, which will evolve into the premium TV Paramount Network in January of next year. While the network is still determining an exact programming lineup, they have already announced Yellowstone starring Kevin Costner, a six-part documentary on Trayvon Martin produced in conjunction with The Weinstein Company, American Woman starring Alicia Silverstone and Mena Suvari, a six-part Waco series documenting the 1993 stand-off at the Branch Dividian compound, and a television adaptation of the 1988 classic film Heathers.
What do Cyndi Lauper, Will & Grace creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, Debra Messing, RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Valentina, activist and author Cleve Jones, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi all have in common?
They’re trailblazers of the LGBT community—using their prominence in society to spread a message of love, acceptance and equality.
Logo’s tentpole event, which culminates Pride month along with the New York City Pride Parade, presents “Trailblazing Honors” to three individuals or entities who have made outstanding contributions to the LGBT community. Past honorees include activist Harvey Fierstein, Edie Windsor, Judy and Dennis Shepard, the Obama Administration and the cast of Orange Is the New Black.
Viacom released third quarter 2016 earnings on Thursday, Aug. 4. Nickelodeon and VH1 are surging in ratings as VIMN continues to expand and our brands reel in Emmy nominations, helping to affirm our place as the leading cable network in America, with 21.1 percent of all viewership concentrated on its networks.
More than 3 million viewers set records for the first live airing of VH1’s Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens on July 11, driving a torrid social media response to this veneration of the genre’s female icons. This love letter to the female forerunners of hip-hip included tributes to Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Peppa, Lil’ Kim and more.
The event broadcast from just a couple dozen blocks north of Viacom’s Times Square headquarters, at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall. Continuing a summer-long contest that has given employees a chance to attend tentpole events such as the BET Awards and the CMT Music Awards, Viacom sent four winners to witness the show live.
Here’s what three of our winners have to say about the stunning ceremony.
VH1’s Hip Hop Honors is the latest in a series of record-breaking Viacom award shows this spring. More than three million viewers tuned in for the spectacle, giving VH1 its highest Monday-night ratings in over a year. The show generated 17 trending Twitter topics, and was the most-tweeted day of VH1’s fiscal year. Want to know what everyone’s tweeting about? Check out these highlights.
Every year, Logo celebrates the pioneers of the LGBT community with the Trailblazer Honors. This year’s ceremony aired on June 25, barely a week after It was a night of LGBT pride, comedic interludes, and speeches by legendary honorees—but the real honorees were the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting.
The event was held in Manhattan’s Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, where passionate, emphatic voices resonated against the high ceilings of the stately, gothic basilica. The speakers did not plea for equal rights, they demanded them, using the platform of the Trailblazer Honors to reinforce the urgent need for LGBT protections and respect.
RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars Alyssa Edwards, Alaska Thunderfvck, Ginger Minj, Tatiana and Phi Phi O’Hara perform at the 2016 Logo’s Trailblazer Honors at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on June 23, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Logo)
In addition to venerating trailblazers of the LGBT community, the Trailblazer Honors eclipsed standards in the world of broadcast communications by simulcasting with VH1—making it the largest televised LGBT Pride event in history. Thanks to this widespread coverage, Logo’s message of equality, love, and solidarity impacted a vast, worldwide audience. The Trailblazer Honors embraced the spirit of Pride with its inclusivity.
Below are some of the night’s most evocative moments.