Originally Posted on ew.com
By Patrick Gomez
After receiving introductions from Janet Mock, Beyoncé’s stylist Ty Hunter, Lena Waithe, and a full supercut of Beyoncé songs performed by Shangela (see below), hip hop’s first couple took the stage. The rapper wore a pink tux jacket with black pants, while the singer wore a black tuxedo jacket dress.
“Life is full of highs, lows, and a lot of learning,” Jay-Z began. “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 also thanked her for her “beautiful speech at the end of the song ‘Smile,’” and for “allowing me to tell her story, so I want everyone to acknowledge that and her strong message of love who you love.”
“First of all, I’m overwhelmed,” Beyoncé continued. “We were not expecting those incredible presenters. [I’m] just super honored and overwhelmed and I’m very proud of the run in my stocking from [cheering for] Shangela.”
She continued, “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. And that’s the duty of my partnership, connecting people who at first glance seem worlds apart, and whether it’s friends or family, the LGBTQ community has always supported us and lifted us up.
“We’re here to promote love for every human being and change starts with supporting the people closest to you, so let’s tell them that they are loved, let’s remind them they are beautiful, let’s speak out and protect them, and parents, let’s love our kids in their truest form. I hope they we continue to shift the stigmas in this community, especially the stigmas in black families.”
She went on to dedicate the award to her Uncle Johnny, who she said was “the most fabulous gay man, who helped raise me and my sister. He lived his truth. He was brave and unapologetic during a time when this country was not 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. 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 ass to Red Lobster is your human right.”
She concluded by acknowledging her husband “for making incredible strides toward changing stigmas in the hip hop community,” adding that she was proud “to watch him take those steps and to stand right next to him.”
The Vanguard Award is presented to allies who have made a significant difference in promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people. Previous recipients include Jennifer Lopez, Kerry Washington, Cher, Janet Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Demi Lovato, Whoopi Goldberg, Eric McCormack, and Britney Spears.
“Beyoncé and Jay-Z are global icons and passionate defenders of human rights and acceptance for all people,” said GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “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.”
Jay-Z received a GLAAD Special Recognition Award last year for his song and music video, “Smile,” featuring his mother Gloria Carter who used the song to come out as a lesbian. He has also featured LGBTQ people in his art including an appearance by LGBTQ leader Janet Mock in the video for “Family Feud,” which opens with a quote from iconic gay writer James Baldwin; and he famously supported the passage of marriage equality, noting it was “the right thing to do as a human being.”
Beyoncé has spoken out against laws that would discriminate against LGBTQ people and celebrated the passage of marriage equality nationwide, saying that “everyone has the right to love who they love.” She has spoken out loudly for LGBTQ youth and told her followers on social media that “LGBTQ students need to know we support them.” She’s also included LGBTQ people and couples in videos for “Formation” and “All Night” and dedicated her performance of “Halo” to the victims and survivors of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting during “The Formation World Tour.” Ivy Park, her athleisure clothing line, proudly showcased transgender actress Laverne Cox as one of the featured faces in one of the brand’s promos.
Also honored at the ceremony Thursday was Sean Hayes, who received the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which is presented to an LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting LGBTQ acceptance.
GLAAD — the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization — also announced the winners at their 2019 Media Awards, which honors media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues.