Peabody Awards: Issa Rae, Lily Tomlin to Receive Honorary Prizes

The Peabody Awards announced Thursday that Issa Rae and Lily Tomlin will receive honorary awards at the June 11 ceremony, which will be held in Los Angeles for the first time in Peabody’s 83-year history. Shrinking star Jessica Williams will host the event at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the first in-person ceremony since 2019.

Rae will receive the Trailblazer Award, which “recognizes visionaries that are impacting our culture and affecting social change through their innovative storytelling.” The Black Lady Sketch Show and Rap Sh!t producer previously won a Peabody in 2017 for HBO’s Insecure, which Rae created with Larry Wilmore.

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Tomlin will be honored with the Peabody’s Career Achievement Award, “reserved for individuals whose work and commitment to broadcasting and streaming media have left an indelible mark on the field and in American culture.” She won two Peabody Awards in 1996 for the documentary The Celluloid Closet, for which she provided narration, and the television special Edith Ann’s Christmas (Just Say Noël), in which Tomlin played the precocious 5-year-old character that she first originated on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In in 1968. Tomlin joins Carol Burnett, Rita Moreno, Cicely Tyson, Dan Rather and Sam Pollard as recent winners of the career achievement honor.

“Beyond our annual awards recognizing the most compelling stories, Peabody is dedicated to recognizing individuals that inspire and delight us,” Jeffrey Jones, executive director of Peabody, said in a statement. “Lily Tomlin has made so many people laugh over the decades with her remarkable talent, and Issa Rae has proven herself a profound entertainment storyteller, performer and force for good. We’re thrilled to recognize Issa and Lily for not only their extraordinary contributions to storytelling, but also for their important role and place for women in comedy and entertainment.”

Of host Williams, Jones added, “Since breaking onto the scene with her hysterical segments on The Daily Show, Jessica’s wit, wisdom, and powerful performances have established her as not only a comedic force, but also one of the great young actresses working today. We relish pretty much every moment Jessica appears on the screen and we are so thrilled that she will be hosting our first awards ceremony to take place in Los Angeles.”

The nominees for the Peabody Awards’ arts and entertainment categories were announced April 13, while documentary and news nominees were announced April 11. PBS led the total nominees with 13, followed by HBO/Max with six, Apple TV+ with four, Disney+ and FX with three each, and ABC, Channel 4, Netflix and Vice receiving two each.

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