They may be used to receiving awards, but this one was a special one for Beyonce and Jay-Z.
On Thursday night, the couple was honored with the Vanguard Award at the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles. They were awarded for their support of the LGBTQ community, but before the duo took to the stage, they were gifted with emotional speeches by different presenters, including actress Lena Waithe, who dubbed them “the most powerful black people in the country.”
As reported by Variety, Waithe and her fellow presenters explained the value of the Carters’ efforts to endorse queer identities, with trans writer and director Janet Mock tearing up when talking about how much it meant to her and the entire community to be cast in Jay-Z’s music video for “Family Feud.” After the introductions, music’s most famous couple took to the stage appearing a little emotional themselves.
The rapper started off by giving his mother, Gloria Carter, a shout-out, as she was the recipient of the very same award just last year. In his last album, 4:44, Jay opened up about the fact that his mother came out as gay later in her life.
“Life is full of highs, lows, and a lot of learning. This is a momentous night and I also want, because I didn’t do it last year, to honor my mother who received the award last year. I’m following in her footsteps of spreading love and acceptance,” he said, before thanking her for allowing him to “tell her story” and use it as the foundation to spread a message of love.
Bey then took the mic, revealing that she was “overwhelmed” by the introductions, including an explosive performance by Shangela of a medley of her songs.
“I would say that one of the most beautiful memories from our tour was looking out from the stage every night and seeing the hardest gangsters trappin’ out right next to the most fabulous queens, respecting and celebrating each other,” she declared.
The singer added that they both feel like it’s their duty to connect people who may appear to be totally different at first and that the LGBTQ community has always been some of their greatest supporters. She rallied about how change starts within each human, and particularly how we treat those closest to us. Bey begged parents to love their kids “in their truest form,” and said she hoped to continue to erase the stigmas, particularly for black families.
And in perhaps the most revealing moment of the night, she dedicated the award to her Uncle Johnny, who passed away after battling HIV, which she said was “one of the most painful experiences” she ever lived. She described him as “the most fabulous gay man” who was “brave and unapologetic during a time when this country was not as accepting.”
Queen Bey went on to say that she was proud of her husband for helping shift the stigmas in the hip-hop community, and declared that “LGBTQI rights are human rights.”
“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 a** to Red Lobster is your human right.”
The Vanguard Award, which is given to allies who have been advocates for the LGBTQ community, has been awarded to different celebrities throughout the years, including Jennifer Lopez, Kerry Washington, Cher, and Janet Jackson.