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SPEAKER POINTS: 2014 SAG Awards Produce Better Acceptance Speeches


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This past Saturday, the 2014 SAG Awards marked the next stop in Hollywood kudos season and another opportunity to rate winner acceptance speeches. After disappointing speeches at last week’s Golden Globes, I was happy to see better winning words at the SAG Awards. Here are my scores (on a 10-point scale) for the most notable speakers.


Two ladies tied for my best speaker award.

Lupita Nyong’o – Female Actor in a Supporting Role, Motion Picture (9 Speaker Points)

SPEAKER POINTS: 2014 Golden Globe Acceptance Speeches Produce No Big Winners

The annual Hollywood awards season is now officially in full swing after this Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony. As the bevy of awards shows unfold each year, Oscar fans look for clues for who will ultimately win Academy Awards and style mavens review the red carpet fashions. But the speaker in me looks to see which winners deliver great acceptance speeches. Unfortunately, the 3 hours of this year’s Golden Globes show produced no big winning speeches from the honorees.

Return of LGBT Groups to Little Saigon’s “Tet” Parade is a Community Win

Vietnamese Tet Parade

On February 1, LGBT groups will once again march in the Vietnamese New Year parade in Orange County, California’s “Little Saigon.” After last year’s failed court battle to participate in the “Tet” parade, this year’s win by LGBT groups is more impressive because it comes from a 51-36 vote of Vietnamese American and other local representatives. It’s a reminder that while courts of law are important for recognizing equal rights, true LBGT inclusion also requires winning over courts of public opinion in the community.

Stop the Celebrity Twitter Feuds and Speak Directly


What is up with all the celebrity feuds on Twitter? It seems like a week can’t go by without hearing about a tweet-off between Adam Levine and Lady Gaga, Perez Hilton and Lady Gaga, or Kanye West and Jimmy Kimmel. And it seems like Alec Baldwin and Amanda Bynes use Twitter to sound off against… well, just about anyone. It’s a trend of digital passive aggression which reminds me of a simple life lesson: if you have something to say, be brave enough to say it to someone’s face.

Speaking About Race: Paula Deen and the Need for Racial Literacy

Paula Deen certainly learned the hard way that you have to be careful when you speak about race. After last week’s revelations that she has “yes, of course” used the N-word and made other racially-insensitive comments, many people are wondering whether Deen is racist and debating whether Food Network should have dropped her television shows. But amidst this controversy, there is a teaching moment not to be missed. Even if you don’t use racial slurs and don’t have a prejudiced bone in your body, speaking about race is not easy. It’s time we did more to improve everyone’s racial literacy.

Speaker Points: 2013 Oscars Acceptance Speeches

    2013 Academy Awards - Press Room
2013 Oscar winners in acting categories (c) Corbis Images

The Oscars have always been my favorite awards show. I love the movies, the red carpet glamour, and the celebrities. But most of all, I love the winner speeches. So for this edition of Speaker Points, I review acceptance speeches from some of this year’s Academy Award winners. (Scores are on a 10-point scale.)

Best Speech: Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor 

(9 out of 10 Speaker Points)

Speaker Points: 2013 State of the Union Address

Recently, President Obama gave his annual State of the Union address and his first since being re-elected.

Pundits have since debated the political ramifications of the event. But in this first “Speaker Points” piece, I want to examine whether it was an effective speech, and what lessons you can learn for your own speaking lives. The President has always been a powerful orator, and this time was no exception. For another solid job, I give him 8 speaker points (out of 10).

Let’s start with what the President did well. 

“it gets better”: Community Engagement Helps Internet Project Come Alive as Musical Stage Work

What would you think of an Internet project that comes alive on stage as a music and theater production?  

If you were at the Wilshire Ebell theater in Los Angeles on February 1, you’d give a resounding Facebook “Like.”  That night, a sold-out audience gave standing ovations to the West coast premiere of it gets better, the new touring stage work aimed to stop bullying of LGBT youth.  Much like the online It Gets Better Project on which it is based, the show engages community interactivity to convey its message.

Let LGBT Groups March in Little Saigon “Tet” Parade!


Tet parade in Little Saigon
Image source: petition to allow LGBT groups to participate in Little Saigon "Tet" parade

This Sunday, February 10, a Vietnamese New Year parade will fill the streets of “Little Saigon” in Orange County, California but you won’t see rainbow flags. 

That’s because organizers refused to let LGBT groups participate.  And the judicial system did not help.  Yesterday, an Orange County Superior Court judge denied an emergency injunction request by the Partnership of Viet Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organizations to force the parade to include their members. 

Why We Need More LGBT Racial Minority Role Models

I don’t see many people like me in the media.  I am gay and a racial minority (and oh yeah, an immigrant to the U.S.).  When I turn on the TV, go to a movie, or read the news, I rarely see any LGBT racial minority stars.  That’s why it was so powerful in October when the Huffington Post Gay Voices published a list of “The Most Influential LGBT Asian Icons.”  Luminaries like George Takei and Margaret Cho headlined the crop of 54 gaysians.  Somehow, my name managed to make the roster.  But the greater honor was what happened next:  after seeing me on the list, two young gay Asians sought me out for advice.  That reminded me of why the world needs more LGBT racial minorities as role models.