JAY-Z and Beyonce were honored with the Vanguard Award at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on Thursday night (Mar. 28). Their heartfelt acceptance speech celebrated the lives of the queer members of their family and featured them calling for LGBTQIA rights.
The 4:44 rapper began the speech by championing his mother, who he revealed on his last solo album identifies as a lesbian. She was featured on his song “Smile,” and the song and video garnered Ms. Gloria Carter a GLAAD Special Recognition Award last year.
“I get to follow in her footsteps for spreading love and acceptance and her beautiful speech at the end of the song — and for allowing me to tell her story,” he said.
When Beyonce spoke she shared her husband’s sentiment, spreading love and said that “Change starts with supporting people closest to you… We would like to request that we continue to shift the stigmas in this community, especially the stigmas in black families towards accepting queer black and brown men and women around the world.”
“It is a privilege to watch you take those steps and to stand right next to you,” Beyonce told her husband to applause. She continued by recognizing the life of her Uncle Johnny, who she called “the most fabulous gay man” she ever knew.
“He was brave and unapologetic during a time when this country wasn’t as accepting,” she said of her uncle, who she says helped raise her and her sister. “Witnessing his battle with HIV was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever lived. I am hoping that his struggles serve to open pathways for other young people to live more freely.”
“LGBTQI rights are human rights. To choose who you love is your human right. How you identify and see yourself is your human right,” she continued. “Who you make love to and take that a** to Red Lobster is your human right.”
Watch their speech above.