Satchel Lee, the daughter of legendary director Spike Lee, will make history as the first out queer Golden Globes ambassador. As ambassadors, she and her brother Jackson will assist with duties during the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards, airing Sunday, February 28, at 8PM EST on NBC, as well as raise awareness around philanthropic causes.
Satchel chose to focus her efforts on access to health care for LGBTQ+ people, partnering with Callen-Lorde, a NYC-based organization helping the queer community through comprehensive, judgment-free care, research, and education. The organization will receive a $25,000 grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on Satchel’s behalf. Her brother chose to support Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor- and volunteer-supported mentoring network, which will also receive a $25,000 grant.
“I chose Callen-Lorde because I’m a New Yorker,” says Satchel. “I wanted to do something that was around health care and I wanted to do something centering around the queer community. Callen-Lorde does amazing work. They provide full comprehensive health care to over 18,000 patients a year, and that’s done regardless of their ability to pay. It’s a lifesaving organization. After the year we just had, I have so much more respect and understanding for doctors and nurses and healthcare providers. Callen-Lorde didn’t close its doors once during [the pandemic]. It was also one of the first facilities in New York to start testing and one of the first to start giving out vaccines. They’ve really been ahead of the pandemic in the city, and so to be able to applaud the healthcare providers there in this way was something I was very honored to be able to do.”
Satchel and Jackson’s appointment also marks the first time in HFPA history that two siblings of color have held the position, with Jackson being the first ever Black male ambassador. For Satchel, who is also creative director of the queer publication Drome, the moment is about more than just awards and fashion. It’s about sending a message to queer creators and creators of color that Hollywood belongs to them too.
“I’ve worked in corporate entertainment spaces where we’ve said, ‘Oh, should we bring queer characters on?’ And the response from the top has been, ‘Oh, but we don’t want it to be sad,’” she says. “I’m like, What are you talking about? Is that what your interpretation [of being queer] is? The people who are making decisions need to listen to the people who know what they’re talking about and get out of their own way. We’re also having generational divides too, right? Gen Z is very powerful — more powerful than Millennials, I think — but their [lived] experience is so completely different. We have to trust that people know what they’re talking about. We’re trying to make everybody feel included and feel represented and feel seen, and if you don’t know then you should probably just shut your mouth and listen to somebody who does.”
A version of this story first appeared in Out's 2021 Hollywood Issue. Jake Borelli is featured on the cover alongside Ryan O'Connell and Alexandra Grey. It is the first print issue under the editorial direction of editor-in-chief David Artavia. The issue is out on newsstands on March 3, 2021. To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe — or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News +.