In celebration of Black History Month I talked with Diedra Meredith, CEO of OUTmusic Inc and Chairwoman of the LGBT Academy of Recording Arts that recently presented their 9th annual OUTmusic Awards. OUTmusic Inc. a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization was founded in 1990 by life partners Daniel Martin and Michael Biello in their East Village Apartment in New York City. They wanted to create a place where LGBT and queer music people could exercise their authentic freedom of expression openly and proudly. For 17 years Dan and Michael headed the organization until they sought new leadership in 2006. In 2007 Diedra Meredith, aka Deepa Soul, Billboard chart topping recording artist, was appointed as the new Chairwoman. Under her new leadership OUTmusic was re-founded as the LGBT Academy of Recording Arts creating the acronym LARA. LARA defines what OUTmusic is as the alliance of LGBT recording artists, creative industry professionals and patrons of the arts. I talked to Diedra about what she hopes to accomplish with LARA and her spin on our LGBT issues.
When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Meredith stated:
I am a person who sits on the great intersect because I'm Afro-American, I'm a woman, I'm openly lesbian and I can't imagine not doing the work that I'm doing without bringing to the table the way I was raised in the deep south of New Orleans. We were born into the civil rights movement; there wasn't a choice from the first breathe that we took we became civil rights activists just because of what we were up against. I still saw signs when I was a little girl 'No Coloreds Allowed". In 1970 I still saw atrocities of what happens to people like me and it's still happening. So when it comes to LGBT civil rights I don't have a division but unfortunately in the Afro-American community I sit at the intersect where they don't want me to bring up that I'm a lesbian but I do because it is a civil right. I'm an American. I'm a law-biding citizen. It is my right and I am right. I'm Afro-American, I'm a woman, I'm lesbian and I deserve every civil right that every man has. It's my commitment to human civil rights period.
Diedra Meredith in her early years as a recording artist landed twice in the top 4 on Billboard Club Play Charts. She hit instant success with her first record when she was discovered and produced by Superstar DJ/Producer Junior Vasquez who is responsible for producing mega crossover dance hits for Cher, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Mary J Blige, Elton John and many more. She is currently in discussions to obtain a broadcast or streaming deal for the 10th Annual OUTmusic Awards in the same cultural vein as The Grammys, Country Music Awards, The Black Music Awards and the Latin Grammy Awards. Diedra believes that with a more commercial presence, LARA will help support the growing LGBT music and entertainment industry.
For More Info: thelara.org
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