Feathers Awards 2011: Winners And Addressing The Concern

Last week Tuesday, at The Venue -Melrose Arch in Johannesburg the Feather Awards were held in celebration of the gay community of South Africa honouring individuals in the public eye that inspire them. I unfortunately did not attend the event as I had to cancel at the last minute due to some drama I had, if you are on my Facebook friends list you know about it.
There has been a lot of debate about the validity of these awards. Many people have questioned if these awards are a genuine reflection of what gay people think or feel. Most of the concern came from the criteria with which the organisers put the list of nominees together. Questions have been raised about what contribution some of the nominees have made to the gay community. Some people have gone as far as to call the awards; "the Groupie awards" citing the fact that the nomination process seems to be based on choosing people that the organisers themselves feel they need to suck up to. 

This year, DJ Cleo, snubbed the awards by declining his nomination. He is quoted as saying; 
"I can’t accept it and I can’t condone being considered sexy by men with beards. Its not some thing I can be proud of Ake enyake kea eleboga {thanks but no thanks}."
This raised a very interesting view to the debate; If these awards are about honouring people who inspire gay people, what exactly is someone who habour such views inspiring them with? The answer could perhaps be the fact that he is a successful musician. Prior to his utterances he probably had a lot gay men who idolised him. But his views are contradictory to the spirit of the awards. It is no surprise that some people felt this was a slap in the face to the gay community and those who oppose the validity of the awards felt vindicated because it proved to them that the awards have no substance if they honour homophobes yet claim to represent the gay community.

Personally I have always taken the event as nothing like the world famous American award, GLAAD. The Feathers have never claimed to be a social responsibility organisation for gays, at least to my knowledge. So, in that regard they can not be expected to push that agenda. They are a fun event that is aimed at bringing everybody together to celebrate individuals who have "caught the attention" of the gay community and indeed the nation at large. I will admit though that this incident should not just be dismissed by the organisers. It does have some merits and if the awards are to survive, a proper and thorough re-evaluation of the nomination process needs to be applied. In future they could perhaps  engage more with the gay community . 

The organisers could start by work-shopping the process. They can invite a panel of gay individuals who will nominate people in a transparent and public platform where due process that is inclusive can be adhered to. It is a bit disheartening when you have people nominated that majority of gay people don't even know of like Thembisa Mdoda and Thoko Qobosa. Who are these people? Yes the organisers may know them but do the gay community know who they are? One gategory could be "The Simon Nkoli Honorary Award" - this could be an award which honour individuals in any sphere of public spectrum who have done something that has had a positive impact on the gay community. It could be someone like Dawie Nel at OUT which is an gay NGO in Pretoria that has been at the forefront of HIV education amongst young gay men, Robin Malan who runs "Young Gay Guys" column in Exit Magazine or Mika Stefano who is an openly gay blogger who has been a prominent feature in the entertainment industry. AMONGST MANY OTHERS. It's all good and well to have fun but we can not just turn a blind eye to issues that have the danger of eradicating the very same gay community these awards are representing. These individuals are worthy of recognition. That's just my 2 cents' worth of an opinion.

Nonetheless, the event has proven to be a huge success as it grows with every year even though it has been marred with reports of lack of sponsorship. The team behind them have persevered against the odds and have made a mark in South Africa's social calendar.

NB: Thanks to Marang for the invite and making sure that my invite was delivered. My apologies for eventually not honouring but she knows I got mad love for DreamCatcher.

The winners for this year are:
(Winners highlighted in blue)

Best Styled Female – This category is for ladies that consistently kept to their style throughout the year.
Dineo Ranaka
Bonang Matheba
Noni Gasa

Bonang with her Stylist, as seen on Justcurious

Best Styled Male – The men that have remained stylish throughout the year.
Siphiwe Mpye
Zakes Bantwini
Siyabonga Ngwekazi

Hunk of the Year – These men just ooze the X-factor, you look at them and you just want a strong hug.
DJ Cleo
Lulo Café
Aubrey Pooe

Diva Extraordinaire of the Year – These women are who always carry themselves well and they have a strong presence.
Noeleen Maholwane Sangqu
Thoko Qoboza
Edith Venter

Sports Personality of the Year – People that have inspired in the world of sports
Caster Semenya
Andile Jali
Oscar Pistorious

Role model of the Year – They never put their foot wrong in the public eye, they continue to contribute positively to society.
Natalie Du Toit
Terry Pheto
Kabelo Mabalane

Cutest Couple – these are couples people adore and look up to.
Black Coffee & Mbali Mlotshwa
DJ Cleo & Bricks
Kenny Kunene & Gayton Mckenzie

Hot Chick of the Year – these are women who ooze a lot of sex appeal.

Minnie Dlamini
Claire Mawisa
Gail Nkoana

Fag hag of the Year – Need we say more, they never leave their home without their favorite accessories, a gay friend.
Sophie Ndaba
Kenny Kunene
Zizi Kodwa

Musician – musicians we love to listen to on and off stage
Zakes Bantwini

Socialite – Seen at every opening of an envelope or an erection of a stop sign.
Jen Su
Thembisa Mdoda
Jafta Mamabolo

Drama Queen – These are personalities we read about every Sunday over breakfast, their lives revolve around a lot of dramatic behavior or situation.
Kenny Kunene
Nonhle Thema
Eric Miyeni

Congratulations to the winners. See ya'll next year!

1 comment:

Wesley Dion said...

I suggest they avail a category for the actual gay stylist or make-up artist who constantly make our celebs to look fresh & fab.They deserve the credit.The likes of Vuyo Varoyi & Linda Makhanya.

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