Ty Herndon’s appearance at Saturday’s 50th anniversary benefit show for the Los Angeles LGBT Center at the Greek Theatre is just one recent example of his charitable outreach for members of his community.
Herndon, who is November 2014 became the first major male country artist to publicly come out as gay, is also using his new album Got It Covered as a fundraising vehicle for The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people under 25. For every follow to his Got it Covered playlist, Ty’s The Concert for Love and Acceptance foundation will donate $1 to The Trevor Project (up to $5,000).
The Concert for Love and Acceptance was also the name of the first-of-its-kind country music event that Herndon hosted shortly after he came out. Since the launch, he has partnered with GLAAD to produce each annual event aimed at bringing attention and support to at-risk youth and acceptance.
The Grammy-nominee also shines a light on LGBT youth through his art. The release of Got It Covered via BFD/The Orchard includes a new video that just dropped for the song “So Small,” which was originally co-written and sung by Carrie Underwood. The video features the youth of The Rainbow Squad, a Nashville-based group based around providing a safe space and community resources for LGBTQ+ kids.
“It is my true passion to work with LGBTQ kids,” Herndon says in a press release on the video’s release. “I have the honor of working with some of the best organizations in the country, and we all share a determination to see the suicide rate go down with kids. I knew I had to do something special with The Rainbow Squad, and I wanted to spotlight their amazing hearts and faces. The message in ‘So Small’ was perfect. The video represents the joy these kids have in their hearts; their stories and challenges are all different, but together the love and strength they share with each other is unbreakable. All of their parents showed up for the video shoot, it was a very loving and emotional day for them. As I hugged one of the moms, she held my face and said ‘please tell them to love their kids, no matter what. It’s the most important thing you will ever do.’”
Earlier this summer, Herndon released a re-recording of his 1995 single “What Mattered Most” with the pronouns reversed from the original to reflect his true self that fans have come to know since he came out.
His live performance schedule includes a stop at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Feliz on Thursday (visit TyHerndon.com for more details), and then Saturday’s Hearts of Gold and the Gold Anniversary Vanguard Celebration concert and multimedia show commemorating a half-century of struggles and historic victories of the LA LGBT Center and the entire LGBTQ community.
Other featured artists performing include: Sia, Rufus Wainwright, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Kathy Griffin, Tig Notaro, Bruce Vilanch and more. The curtain rises at the Greek at 8 p.m. For more details or tickets, go to lalgbtcenter.org/gala.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.