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Planned Parenthood to honor ABC Family’s The Fosters & BET Network’s Being Mary Jane at Annual Gala

Comedian Tig Notaro to Emcee Event Featuring Singer Mavis Staples
Other Awardees Include Nancy Pelosi, Michael Bloomberg, and Rev. Dr. William Barber II


New York, NY – On Thursday, March 27, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) will present the 2014 Maggie Awards for Television to ABC Family’s The Fosters and BET Network’s Being Mary Jane at their Annual Gala, in recognition of the shows’ superlative handling of themes of reproductive health, sexuality, and relationships.

Each year, the PPFA Maggie Awards recognize exceptional contributions by the arts and entertainment community that enhance the public’s understanding of reproductive and sexual health care issues and sex education.

“We’re proud to honor The Fosters and Being Mary Jane with 2014 Maggie Awards for Television,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Television can be enormously influential when it comes to educating people and sparking conversations around issues of sex, relationships, and reproductive health. The Fosters and Being Mary Jane continue to introduce millions of viewers to discussions of healthy relationships, safer sex, sexuality, and family communication each week. These shows reflect the culture we live in; they create a mirror in which more women, men and families can see accurate images of themselves.”

ABC Family’s The Fosters – from Executive Producer Jennifer Lopez and creators Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige – tells the compelling story of a multi-ethnic family of foster, adopted, and biological children being raised by two mothers. In its first season, the show has tackled themes of safe sex, birth control, and sexuality through the lens of a thoroughly modern family. Bradley Bredeweg and actor Teri Polo – who plays Stef Foster, one of the mothers -- will accept the award for The Fosters.

“We created The Fosters to showcase a loving family. Times have changed and so has how the next generation is being raised,” said Bredeweg. “Our team has always tried to capture in an honest way how families have evolved in the 21st century, and we’re thrilled to have that vision honored.”

“Playing Stef on The Fosters is a remarkable experience for which I am very grateful. The portrayal of this family might challenge what some people in this country think of when they picture a family,” said Polo. “But through the show, you see that what’s important – love, communication, being open and supportive of each other – is universal to all families.”

In its first season, BET Network’s Being Mary Jane has become the number-one cable drama series on television, with a debut of 3.3 million viewers. Created and executive produced by Mara Brock Akil, creator of The Game and Girlfriends, Being Mary Jane follows successful news anchor Mary Jane Paul (Gabrielle Union) as she navigates relationships, family drama, and career challenges. Each week, the hit show touches on themes like healthy relationships, teen pregnancy, sexuality, and safe sex. Akil will accept the award via video message on Thursday night.

“I created Being Mary Jane in part to address the real lack of representations of professional women of color on television,” said Akil. “BET Network gave our team a platform, and we’re excited to see the response.  My hope is that we’re able to impact how America views multicultural women and their everyday experiences with love and relationships. To have Planned Parenthood recognize the show and its important place in this culture is an honor.”

This year’s Gala will also include presentations of the Margaret Sanger Award to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Planned Parenthood Global Citizen Award to former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and the Planned Parenthood Care. No Matter What. Award to Reverend Doctor William Barber II. Additionally, a Planned Parenthood affiliate CEO will be presented with the Ruth Green Award for outstanding leadership and vision, with the recipient announced during the award presentations.

Comedian Tig Notaro will emcee this year’s Gala, and legendary singer Mavis Staples will perform for attendees.

The Gala is part of Planned Parenthood’s “Stronger Together” Conference, the organization’s largest annual gathering, attended by Planned Parenthood national and affiliate staff from across the country, elected officials, leaders of other national organizations, and prominent supporters.


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


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