Andrea James

Alec Mapa, Outfest Fusion Achievement Award 2014 Honoree

March 15, 2014, Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood. Presented by Sandra Oh.

ALEC’S PREPARED REMARKS

Thank you Sandra Oh, my childhood friend.

Ok, that clip reel was scarier than my facebook anniversary video. I didn’t know facebook was going to post those and I saw mine in the middle of the night and I was literally like “Holy shit. Did I die? Is this what they’re playing at my funeral? Did I really live my entire life on facebook? That’s so sad!”

First things first, none of us would be here this evening without the hard work of our director Andrea James and her producing partner, my husband Jamie Hebert. Girls marry a producer. They’ve worked tirelessly taking this from a kickstarter pitch to tonight and on the way assembled a brilliant group of technicians to make it all possible. Ian MacGlocklin our DP, Patty Cornell and Erika Sellin who ran the show, Marc Jackson who wrote the music and Bryan Lukasik who ushered all of us through post . And of course everyone who funded us through kickstarter.

Thank you OutFest for this career achievement award. Marc Cherry who’s here tonight and one of our producers once said that my career only existed because of sheer force of will so I think I’m getting this award for being stubborn, for lasting this long. I mean the Cosby Show was 25 years ago so it’s pretty clear at this point, you can’t kill me with a stick. I’ve been an actor for thirty years, and sometimes I feel like I’ve worked for two of them, but the truth is I’ve always been working. I’ve always been working because I’ve always been telling my own story. And here’s why.

27 years ago, I was in Washington DC for the first unveiling of the AIDS memorial quilt. It had 1,290 panels and each one memorialized a person who died from AIDS. And as I walked among the quilt you could see entire life stories in each and every panel. You could see that this person was a dancer, or an artist, or a devoted wife and mother. I was looking at a panel of someone who had clearly been a drag queen because his panel was crammed with more sequins and glitter than you could possibly imagine, I mean it looked like Liberace had thrown up. And you could see from the care and detail devoted to this panel that this person was deeply missed and deeply ,deeply loved. And I said out loud to the stranger next to me “Why do they hate us so much?” and he said “They don’t know us.”

And at the time it did seem like no one knew about us, that we were very much this shadow minority and that our stories outside of our friends and family, outside of this quilt simply weren’t being told.

I once read that it takes audacity to put yourself center stage, but I think the truth is it takes audacity NOT to put yourself center stage. Each of us has a story that’s absolutely unique to us. Stories of heartbreak and triumph, perspective and experiences on what it’s like to be a human being on this planet, And THAT story is valuable, because it brings people together, it opens enormous reserves of compassion and empathy in all of us, because we’re all going through it. To hear an entire audience laugh and cry about the same things proves there’s a collective experience, that we’re not going through this alone. And if you don’t tell that story, it’s lost forever. So if you’re a film maker, a writer, a dancer or an artist, share your story share your truth, people are longing for it. And if your story has fart jokes, even better.

So thank you for recognizing my work and most importantly I’d like to thank my son Zion for making me and my husband a family and giving me the best possible story to tell. Thank you.

%d bloggers like this: