Each year, guests wonder how Black Tie Dinner will top itself and each year they are delighted when it does exactly that. This year's 38th annual Black Tie Dinner reeled in a bevy of celebrities, which in turn drew more than 2,500 people to the Sheraton Dallas for a glamorous night of empowerment and fundraising for community beneficiaries.
Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner Billy Porter was this year's headliner, having just celebrated his historic victory as the first openly gay black man to win in the Emmys' Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series category for his role as Pray Tell in the series Pose.
But before Porter closed out the evening with a passionate, nearly 25-minute speech centered on the night's theme of "Be," the crowd was treated to a lineup masterminded by co-chairs Nathan Robbins and Jeremy Hawpe.
Following cocktails and the silent auction, guests — including former *NSYNC member Lance Bass, Real Housewives of Dallas' LeeAnne Locken, broadcaster Dale Hansen, and City Councilman Chad West — were welcomed by Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.
A touching video then honored Don Maison, who received the Kuchling Humanitarian Award for his decades of service and legal aide to the LGBTQ community. Though Maison was unable to attend, having recently suffered a stroke, the outpouring of respect and affection from the crowd could probably be heard well beyond the Sheraton's walls.
The evening's next guest had no problem telling the room to shut up and sit down so she could speak. Singer and activist Shea Diamond addressed the horrifying slew of murders and violence against black transgender women in Dallas, before singing a snippet of her hit song, "American Pie."
Her acceptance speech for the Visibility Award transitioned naturally into recognition of Black Tie Dinner's beneficiaries, which range from arts groups to health nonprofits, and have received more than $23 million since Black Tie Dinner's founding.
Leslie Frye was honored with the Richard Weaver Volunteer Excellence Award, before performances from Mickey Guyton and local songstress Denise Lee (who memorialized those we've lost) and a few words from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Alphonso David.
Before dinner was even served, celeb auctioneer Dana Goldberg helped raise more than $100,000, a tally which only grew during the live auction as guests jumped at the chance to win trips to Puerto Vallarta, the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Napa Valley, and the 62 annual Grammy Awards. One lucky attendee even won a new Mercedes-Benz in the raffle.
Porter's co-star on Pose, Dyllón Burnside, then took the stage before Porter began his heartfelt speech (and showed off his incredible black-and-white outfit).
For more information on Black Tie Dinner and its surrounding events, as well as its beneficiaries, visit blacktie.org.