Friday, February 24, 2012

Celebrity Friday: Paris Barclay, A Gay, Black A-list Director

Paris Barclay is a highly acclaimed, openly gay television director who has worked on many high-profile television series such as Lost, Glee, ER, House, Sons of Anarchy, The West Wing and Smash, among others. He is the most prominent openly gay, African-American person in Hollywood.

Karen Ocamb has posted an incredible profile of Barclay at her LGBTPOV blog:
But what makes Barclay so notable – more so than being prolific and fiscally reliable – is his determined, smart passion for justice and equality. That Glee Emmy nomination was for a Nov. 11, 2009 episode called “Wheels” that won him a DGA Award, a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting and the Visionary Leadership Award at the 2010 Shane’s Inspiration Gala for highlighting the abilities of people with disabilities. Glee creator Ryan Murphy called it “the turning point for the show.” And TV Guide named the “Hearts and Souls” episode of NYPD Blue (where Jimmy Smit’s character dies) and the “Three Stories” episode of House in their 100 Best Episodes of All Time.
But Paris Barclay doesn’t just integrate his passion for justice and equality in his craft: he lives it. In the Los Angeles LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities, he is known for his long commitment to improving the lives of others. He has raised funds for the Van Ness Recovery House, for Project Angel Food during the harrowing 1990s and the Black AIDS Institute, founded by his cousin, longtime HIV/AIDS activist Phill Wilson, among other HIV/AIDS and LGBT organizations. When Project Angel Food honored him with their Founders Award in 1998, Barclay said: “I consider my work for this organization my highest accomplishment….What’s the point of any success if you don’t give something back?”
That's why Paris Barclay is today's Celebrity Friday.

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