GLAAD Media Institute alum Nina Kennedy was included in Crain’s list of 2023 Notable LGBTQIA+ Leaders. She is one of 74 honorees Crain considers a pacesetter in driving equity and inclusion across the city’s business community.
Kennedy is a multi-hyphenated multimedia artist and media professional. She is also a world-renowned classical pianist, and she recently published her memoir in two parts. The first, Practicing for Love: A Memoir. The second book is titled, Practice What You Preach: Book 2 of the Practicing for Love. In addition, to being an established author, Kennedy is also the host of the “Noshing with Nina Show,” and also the creative director for INFEMNITY Productions.
However, today GLAAD uplifts Kennedy for her accomplishments as a writer.
“Well, it is very exciting,” Kennedy told GLAAD.
Kennedy earned her place as a 2021 Lambda Literary Award finalist even though Practicing for Love: A Memoir was published during the pandemic lockdown.
“I was involved with the promotion for the book, and then released the second book of memoirs, which came out last year,” Kennedy continued.
The memoirs focus on Kennedy’s life as a child prodigy and then coming into adulthood as an LGBTQ person respectively. The first part of Kennedy’s story reveals the journey of her youth. While she was growing up in a segregated black community, she was forced to speak slang or “Ebonics” during the day to protect herself from bullying. At night, she returned home to speak the “King’s English” with her college professor parents. Her parents were both esteemed classical pianists who felt their careers had been hampered by American racism. Consequentially, her parents were determined that Kennedy would have the success that they never could, reads the book’s summary.
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Yet, book two navigates Kennedy as an adult who moves to Europe. That is until she comes home to her mother’s funeral in Nashville. Additionally, when Kennedy cleans out her parents’ house she unearths material for a documentary film, which she spends the next six years producing. Matthew Kennedy: One Man’s Journey. Ultimately. The documentary became an award-winning hit at international film festivals.
Furthermore, Kennedy says this honor comes with a little help from her friends.
The GLAAD Media Institute training helped Kennedy to tell her story, she says. Pre-pandemic lockdown, Kennedy went to a media training with Vice President of the GLAAD Media Institute Ross Murray.
“After coming out of the GLAAD Media Institute, being one of the media alumni, I learned everything I needed to know about social media through Ross,” said Kennedy. “The timing was perfect.”
Kennedy says it takes a team to receive Crain‘s list recognition in LGBTQIA+ leadership. Especially since her book was published in the midst of a global pandemic. “It really forces you to rely on your personal contacts,” the GLAAD Media Institute alum said. “GLAAD has helped a lot with that.”
For instance, just last year, Kennedy recalls meeting Ariana Debose on the 2022 NYC GLAAD Media Awards red carpet.
“Ariana DeBose just gave me the biggest hug, to the point where I was almost passing out. She was just so generous with her affection,” Kennedy recalls. “It was a wonderful opportunity to discuss my book.”
Nevertheless, her biggest role model that helped Kennedy overcome was Gertrude Stein.
“In fact, I lived in Paris for a while, and I would go on pilgrimages to her house. And there, that was when I really got serious about my writing,” Kennedy said. “Gertrude’s spirit may have had something to do with the quantity of writing that was coming out.”
However, Kennedy simply wants to provide for the next generation. Being included on Crain‘s list as a 2023 Notable LGBTQIA+ Leader will help with that, she said.
To purchase Nina Kennedy’s memoirs go to her LinkedIn profile.