Country singer Cameron Hawthorne to entertain

Denise Lee will receive the Dale Hanson Ally Award at the 2022 Black Tie Dinner

With two weeks to go before the 41st annual Black Tie Dinner, BTD officials announced today (Saturday, Sept. 10, that singer, actress, producer and community activist Denise Lee is being named this year’s Dale Hansen Ally Award. Dinner officials also announced that openly-gay country singer Cameron Hawthorne has been added to the entertainment lineup for the event.

Openly-gay country singer Cameron Hawthorne

The 2022 Black Tie Dinner, presented by PNC Bank, will be held Saturday Sept. 24, at the Sheraton Dallas in Downtown Dallas. For more information and tickets visit

Terry Loftis, senior co-chair for Black Tie, said, “This award is really special to me because of my friendship and love for Denise Lee. It’s hard to think of anyone who has done more to support the LGBTQ than Denise.  She uses her voice, her words, her talent and her commitment to equality as a light and example for all our straight allies to emulate.

“She is simply amazing.”

Lee, an award-winning actress and singer, has a powerful voice and warm, friendly demeanor has charmed audiences for more than three decades, including performances at clubs in Shanghai, Beijing, Switzerland and France. She is the founder and executive producer of the Denise Lee Onstage Cabaret Series and the Dallas Cabaret Festival featuring the best in Dallas based and National Cabaret Artists.

For her cabaret shows Divas of American Music and Too Old, Too Fat, Too Black – Songs I’ll Never Sing On Broadway, Lee won Broadway World Awards for Best Cabaret Performer in 2015 and 2016. She is also the first recipient of the Sammons Center for the Arts Cabaret Artist of the Year Award and multiple Dallas Theater Critic Forum and Dallas Readers Voice Awards. Lee has recently added playwright to her list of accomplishments, with her first play Funny, You Don’t Act Like A Negro  having its world premiere at the Theatre Three in Dallas in February 2020.

Denise Lee is also a passionate community activist committed to fighting against discrimination and oppression against marginalized communities.  She is the founder and CEO of Visions For Change Inc, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the creation, promotion and support of programs and activities that build bridges to bring communities together.

In 2016, Lee established  Community Conversation through this initiative, with monthly gatherings that bring people from all walks of life together for respectful, open, honest dialogue in order to heal racial and community tension. For these efforts, she has been awarded the Rudy Eastman Diversity Award by the Live Theater League of Tarrant County and a Special Citation of Recognition by the DFW Theater Critics Forum.  In 2019, she was awarded the Hero of Hope Award.


Established in 2016, the Dale Hansen Ally Award, recognizes a distinguished ally of the LGBTQ community who, through personal and professional activities, has made a significant, positive impact on the LGBTQ community. Past recipients include Jessi Cruikshank, Terrence McNally and Michelle Visage.


“I am honored and thrilled to be receiving the Dale Hansen Ally Award from Black Tie Dinner,” Lee said. “I am also grateful for the love and support that I continually receive from a community that is so close to my heart and to my life.

“To be the recipient of an award named after a man that I so admire is humbling. I am looking forward to joining the other award recipients for an exciting evening.”


Cameron Hawthorn represents an exciting new future for country music as an American singer-songwriter, blendisng elements of country, americana, folk and pop/rock. He first created a buzz in 2019 with his single “Dancing In the Living Room,” getting coverage from People Magazine, CMT, Logo, The Advocate andHuffington Post, as well as several other publications.

As an independent artist, Cameron continues to write and sing about his journey as a country boy who has most recently made his way back to the country after living in LA, Nashville, and now putting his roots down in Texas. He released his single “Nothing Like A Cowboy” earlier this year and most recently joined up with New York DJ and producer Bright Light Bright Light to write “Country Boy Two-Step”, a boot-scootin’ club beat anthem which Queerty included on its hottest collabs of the summer.

Lee and Hawthorne join the other evening’s honorees that include Elizabeth Birch Equality Award recipient and Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy, Vanguard Award recipient actor Raphael Silva Media Award recipient actor Colman Domingo, Visibility Award recipient actor Ryan O’Connell and Kuchling Humanitarian Award recipient Robert Emery.

To date, Black Tie Dinner has raised and distributed more than $27 million dollars to support numerous deserving organizations serving the needs of the LGBTQ community locally and HRCF.