terrific people

10 Queer Superheroes: Entertaining Us While Saving The Planet (No, Really)


WHO IS SHE?: One of Entertainment Weekly’s 25 funniest people in America. In 2009, she became the first openly gay black woman ever to speak at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. While there, she called Rush Limbaugh “the 20th hijacker” and offered to waterboard Fox News’ Sean Hannity for charity. Fun.
BEST KNOWN FOR HER CHARITY WORK WITH: Soles4Souls, a charity facilitating the donation of shoes to needy folks worldwide. She spoke for its “50KShoes” campaign to help get 1.3 million shoes to Haitian earthquake survivors.
WHY SHE MATTERS: Despite The Wanda Sykes Show’s shaky premiere, she’s still one of the hardest working comedians today. To be female, African American, and openly gay on top of it makes her a perfect liaison between queers and communities of color. Her sharp politically-incorrect observations cut to the bone in jaw-dropping “I can’t believe you just said that” style while making you feel like part of the joke rather than the butt of it.
QUOTE: “If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it. If you’re passionate about your work, it makes the people around you want to be involved too… I think [comedy’s] harder for women because comedy is so opposite of being ladylike. But I try to massage it a little and not be as cutting, come behind it with a joke: Hey, I cut you deep, but now let me put a couple of stitches in you. It’s easier to rip somebody to shreds while you’re making them laugh.”

Maybe you first saw the Emmy-award winning comedienne hosting Comedy Central’s Premium Blend or in the “Buy, Buy Baby” episode of Will and Grace. No sooner had she come out at a Las Vegas Prop 8 protest in 2008, than she began appearing in GLSEN’s Think Before You Speak campaign against the expression, “That’s So Gay.” She’s performed for GLAAD and recently appeared in Cyndi Lauper’s We Give A Damn campaign supporting a new New York LGBT youth center and equal rights for the LGBT community overall. She scored the 35th spot in Out magazine’s 2009 Power 50 List. But what’s really exciting is that her career just seems to keep going up. Who knows what audience and influence she’ll have in five or 10 years… and what unbelievable things she might do with it!