Cyndi Lauper

Award-winning recording artist, composer, lyricist and LGBTQ advocate and icon Cyndi Lauper has been named the first recipient of The High Note Global Prize, an award honoring and celebrating major recording artists for outstanding achievement in using their music and celebrity platform to advocate for social justice worldwide, according to a statement released today (Tuesday, Nov. 26) by the United Nations.

Pop star and social activist Kesha will present the award on behalf of UN Human Rights during Lauper’s “Home for the Holidays” benefit concert at The Novo at LA Live on Tuesday, Dec. 10, which is UN Human Rights Day.  UN Human Rights is the “Global Partner” of The High Note Global Initiative, founded by David Clark, a creator of cause-brands and humanitarian initiatives for President Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali, Prince, United Nations, Amnesty International and The Anne Frank Center, among others.

Lauper is being recognized for her lifelong advocacy for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people, as well as the significant achievements made by True Colors United, a nonprofit organization she co-founded in 2008 to prevent and end youth homelessness among LGBTQ youth.

Her May 2015 testimony to the U.S. Senate Sub-Appropriations Committee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (see video below) played a leading role in securing approximately $250 million in new annual federal funding over the past four years to invest in preventing and end youth homelessness in over 70 communities across America.

Each year, 4.2 million youth and young adults experience some form of homelessness in the United States and up to 40 percent of them are LGBTQ. True Colors United develops and implements innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people through a wide array of training & education, technical assistance, advocacy, and youth collaboration programs. The organization has impacted the lives of millions of LGBTQ youth and brought the critical issue of youth homelessness to the forefront of government, public, and media awareness.

“We are proud to support The High Note Global Initiative in an effort to galvanize global mobilization for human rights, and at the same time honor artists who passionately use their work to promote and protect the rights of others,” said Laurent Sauveur, chief external outreach, UN Human Rights.

David Clark, creator of The High Note Global Initiative and CEO of David Clark Cause, said,  “The High Note Global Prize celebrates artists that have leveraged their musical gifts to create a platform to promote social justice. We are delighted to recognize and honor Cyndi Lauper as the 2019 High Note Global Prize Laureate.

“For decades she has promoted human rights, been a voice and active participant for change, and inspired people around the world to be tolerant and true to themselves. She is most deserving of this award, and we look forward to celebrating her achievements during our inaugural High Note Global Prize award ceremony,” he said.

Along with Kesha, celebrities paying tribute to Lauper and True Colors United on UN Human Rights Day will include Billy Porter, Brandi Carlile, Belinda Carlisle, King Princess, Charlie Musselwhite, Henry Rollins, Perry Farrell with Etty Lau Farrell, Justin Tranter, K. Flay, Emily Estefan, Shawn Wasabi, comics Carol Leifer and Lily Tomlin, U.K. comedian Gina Yashere, Margaret Cho, and Carson Kressley and others.

Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey, Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Dua Lipa, Kacey Musgraves, RuPaul and Tegan and Sara are among the artists who have donated items and experiences for a charity auction with 100 percent of the proceeds supporting True Colors United programs.

After The High Note Global Prize ceremony, the GRAMMY Museum, a partner institution of The High Note Global Initiative, will display Lauper’s award.

“The GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to support The High Note Global Initiative, which is working to celebrate and highlight musicians who impact society through the promotion of social justice,” said Michael Sticka, GRAMMY Museum president. “Cyndi Lauper is most deserving as the inaugural recipient of The High Note Global Prize for her decades of continued work to support the LGBTQ community.”

— Tammye Nash

Kesha, right, and Cyndi Lauper performing together at the Grammy’s