Issa Rae and Lily Tomlin win special Peabody Awards; Jessica Williams named host of June 11 ceremony

Issa Rae and Lily Tomlin win special Peabody Awards; Jessica Williams named host of June 11 ceremony

April 20, 2023
Julie Cloutier/Anna Bailer

Peabody announced that Issa Rae, the award-winning actress, writer, and producer has won the Peabody Trailblazer Award; and that Lily Tomlin, one of America’s foremost comedians, whose career has spanned decades, has won the Peabody Career Achievement Award. Both awards were selected by unanimous vote of the Peabody Board of Jurors and will be celebrated live at the 83rd Annual Peabody Awards ceremony, hosted by actress and comedian Jessica Williams, on June 11 in Los Angeles.

“Beyond our annual awards recognizing the most compelling stories, Peabody is dedicated to recognizing individuals that inspire and delight us,” said Jeffrey Jones, executive director of Peabody. “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.”

Headshot of Jessica Williams, host of the Peabody Awards.
Jessica Williams of “The Daily Show” will host the Peabody Awards in Los Angeles on June 11.

The ceremony will be hosted by Jessica Williams, the actress and comedian who broke out as a senior correspondent on The Daily Show. A co-host of the podcast 2 Dope Queens, Williams recently appeared in the Apple TV+ comedy-drama Shrinking.

“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,” said Jones.

The Trailblazer Award – Issa Rae

The Trailblazer Award recognizes visionaries that are impacting our culture and affecting social change through their innovative storytelling. With Peabody-winning Insecure, in addition to A Black Lady Sketch Show and Rap Sh!t, Rae’s television career achievements have set new standards for programming that reflect the values and breadth of Peabody’s mission to honor stories that matter. Rae’s work with HOORAE, Raedio, and ColorCreative across television, music, film, and digital is changing, challenging, and disrupting traditional Hollywood production models. The Trailblazer Award recognizes creative talent that is literally blazing a trail of excellence in media.

Issa Rae Wins Peabody Trailblazer Award | 83rd Annual Peabody Awards from Peabody Awards on Vimeo.

The Career Achievement Award – Lily Tomlin

The Career Achievement Award is reserved for individuals whose work and commitment to broadcasting and streaming media have left an indelible mark on the field and in American culture. Over the course of her distinguished career, Tomlin has received two Peabodys, seven Emmys, two Tonys, a Grammy, and has been nominated for an Academy Award, amongst other honors. Tomlin joins Carol Burnett, Rita Moreno, Cicely Tyson, Dan Rather, and Sam Pollard as recent winners of the Peabody Career Achievement Award.

More about Issa Rae

With her own unique flare and infectious sense of humor, Rae first received attention for her award-winning web series and the accompanying New York Times best-seller, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.” She created and starred in the Peabody-award-winning HBO series Insecure which garnered her multiple Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominations. Rae has also made her mark on the big screen, starring in THE PHOTOGRAPH and THE LOVEBIRDS. In 2020 Rae formed HOORAE, a multi-faceted media company that develops content across mediums in an effort to continue to break boundaries in storytelling and representation. HOORAE is comprised of HOORAE Media for film, tv and digital; Raedio, the music label, music supervision company, and “audio everywhere” company; and ColorCreative, its management division. Via HOORAE’s WarnerMedia deal, Issa has also expanded her Executive Producer slate with the Emmy-award nominated A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW and the fan-favorite series, RAP SH*T. Rae’s commitment to South LA is evident in both her personal and professional pursuits. After planting roots near her childhood home, Issa set up the HOORAE headquarters in the heart of South LA. Her participation in the non-profit organization Destination Crenshaw furthers her mission of celebrating Black Angelenos and her ownership in Hilltop Cafe + Kitchen provides much-needed jobs and opportunities for local residents as well as a space for creatives to unlock their potential. Additionally, as co-owner of the Black owned and operated hair care line, Sienna Naturals, Rae intends to continue to reimagine Black wellness and beauty. Sienna Naturals is a performance-driven vegan hair care line rooted in sustainability and intentionality.

More about Lily Tomlin

Lily Tomlin, one of America’s foremost comediennes, continues to venture across an ever-widening range of media, starring in television, theater, motion pictures, animation, video, and social media.

Lily Tomlin Wins Peabody Career Achievement Award | 83rd Annual Peabody Awards from Peabody Awards on Vimeo.

Throughout her extraordinary career, Tomlin has received numerous awards, including: eight Emmys, with 25 primetime and five daytime nominations; a Tony for her one woman Broadway show, Appearing Nitely; a second Tony for Best Actress, a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics’ Circle Award for her one woman performance in Jane Wagner’s The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe; a CableAce Award for Executive Producing the film adaptation of The Search; a Grammy for her comedy album, This is a Recording as well as nominations for her subsequent albums Modern Scream, And That’s the Truth,  and On Stage; and two Peabody Awards–the first for the ABC television special, Edith Ann’s Christmas (Just Say Noël), and the second for narrating and executive producing the HBO film, The Celluloid Closet.  In 1976, Tomlin was nominated for an Academy Award for Nashville.  In 2003, she received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and, in December 2014, was the recipient of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors in Washington DC. In 2017, Tomlin received the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award, SAG-AFTRA’s highest accolade.

A ceremony honoring the 83rd Annual Peabody Award winners will be held on June 11 in Los Angeles. The June 11 ceremony will be the first time ever in Peabody history that the Awards take place in Los Angeles.

About Peabody Awards

Respected for its integrity and revered for its standards of excellence, the Peabody is an honor like no other for television, podcast/radio, and digital media. Chosen each year by a diverse Board of Jurors through unanimous vote, Peabody Awards are given in the categories of entertainment, documentary, news, podcast/radio, arts, children’s and youth, public service, and interactive and immersive. The annual Peabody winners are a collection of stories that powerfully reflect the pressing social issues and the vibrant emerging voices of our day. From major studio productions to local journalism, the Peabody Awards shine a light on the Stories That Matter and are a testament to the power of art and reportage in the push for truth, social justice, and equity. The Peabody Awards were founded in 1940 at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia and are still based in Athens today.