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Spencer Battiest to be honored with diversity award

Spencer Battiest

HOLLYWOOD — Seminole Tribe singer, songwriter, actor and producer Spencer Battiest and two longtime stars from the entertainment industry will be honored March 9 when they are scheduled to receive Harvey Milk Medals at the 8th annual Diversity Honors program.

The program will be held at Hard Rock Seminole Casino Hotel Hollywood. It will include a cocktail reception, live music, dinner, an awards ceremony highlighted by presentations to Battiest, Belinda Carlisle and Billy Porter, and an after-party.

The awards are in memory of Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S. He was assassinated in 1978 after winning a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He is recognized as an icon for the LGBTQ+ community.

Battiest, who is also Choctaw, has been performing as a singer since he was a child on the Hollywood Reservation. He and his brother, Doc Native, were part of a seven-member all-Indigenous collaboration that won an MTV Video Music Award in 2017 for their song that supported opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Battiest is also a multi-Native American Music Award winner. In theater, his credits include a starring role in the all-Native play “Distant Thunder.”

Carlisle gained famed in the early 1980s as lead vocalist for the all-female Go-Go’s band with hits such as “We Got the Beat” and “Vacation.” The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.

Carlisle has advocated for and filmed public service announcements for marriage equality and has been active in LGBTQ+ awareness campaigns with her openly gay human rights activist son.

Billy Porter

Porter, whose career began in the early 1990s, is an Emmy, Grammy and Tony award-winning actor, singer, director, producer, composer, and playwright whose accomplishments spread across film, television and theater. His multiple Tony awards include best actor in a musical (“Kinky Boots”) in 2013. Six years later he won an Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for his performance in “Pose.”

The Diversity Honors awards ceremony will also recognize entrepreneur Mark Hunter Seymour with The Pride Center at Equality Park Alan Schubert Award. Tatiana Williams, co-founder and executive director of Transinclusive Group, and the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, will also receive awards.

The awards program is a collaboration between the Harvey Milk Foundation, the Pride Center at Equality Park and Seminole Hard Rock.

Tickets are $250 per person. To reserve tickets, visit