Beyonce paid a moving tribute to her late uncle as she and Jay-Z accepted the Vanguard Award at the GLAAD Media Awards, which celebrates the representation and recognition of the LGBTQI community in media and popular culture.
Speaking on stage next to her rapper husband, Beyonce thanked GLAAD for recognising the couple as a support to the queer community, before seizing the opportunity to tell the story of her late uncle Johnny, who died of HIV.
“Lastly, I want to dedicate this award to my Uncle Johnny, the most fabulous gay man that I have ever known…who helped raise me and my sister,” Beyonce said.
“He lived his truth. He was brave and unapologetic during a time when this country wasn’t as accepting, and witnessing his battle with HIV was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever lived,” she said.
“I am 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 continued.
Turning her attention to Jay-Z, she said, “I just want to say to you, Jay, that I am so proud of you for making incredible strides towards changing stigmas in the hip-hop community. It’s a privilege to watch you take those steps and to stand right next to you. I love you and we’re super grateful and honoured.”
Powerful stuff. Watch the beautiful, poignant speech below.