As per usual, all eyes were on the Carters as they received the Vanguard Award at the 2019 GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 28.
During Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s emotional acceptance speech, the couple paid tribute to the LGBT people in their lives as well as the community as a whole. The “Hold Up” singer, 37, also revealed that her uncle Johnny died from complications related to HIV.
“I want to dedicate this award to my uncle Johnny, the most fabulous gay man I have ever known, who helped raise me and my sister [Solange],” she said through tears as the “Holy Grail” rapper, 49, lovingly rubbed her back. “He lived his truth. He was brave and unapologetic at a time when this country wasn’t as accepting. Witnessing his battle with HIV was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever lived. I’m hopeful that his struggle served to open pathways for other young people to live more freely.”
Garnering cheers from the audience, Beyoncé added, “LGBTQI rights are human rights.”
Jay-Z, for his part, dedicated the honor to his mother, Gloria Carter, who came out as a lesbian in a poem that she read at the end of his 2017 song “Smile.” GLAAD honored Carter with the Special Recognition Award at the organization’s 2018 ceremony.
“I get to follow in her footsteps of spreading love and acceptance and her beautiful speech at the end of the song ‘Smile’ and for her allowing me to tell her story,” the Roc Nation founder said on Thursday.
Elsewhere in the speech, Beyoncé delivered a powerful message, which she ended on a lighter note. “To choose who you love is your human right. How you identify and see yourself is your human right. Who you make love to — and take that ass to Red Lobster — is your human right,” she said with a smile, paraphrasing a viral lyric from her 2016 single “Formation,” as Jay-Z burst into laughter.
GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis praised the “Apes–t” collaborators earlier this month for being allies of the LGBT community.
“Beyoncé and Jay-Z are global icons and passionate defenders of human rights and acceptance for all people,” she said in a statement on March 11. “When Beyoncé and Jay-Z speak, the world becomes inspired and when it comes to LGBTQ people, their voices of acceptance have been heard loud and clear. We could not be prouder to stand with them to send a message of love during the biggest LGBTQ event in the world and to honor their work to bend the arc of justice forward for LGBTQ people, people of color, and marginalized communities everywhere.”
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