Beyoncé and JAY-Z were honored with the Vanguard Award at the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards

By Helen Murphy
March 29, 2019 08:20 AM
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Beyoncé gave an emotional speech after being honored for her LGBTQ advocacy on Thursday night.

The singer, 37, and her husband JAY-Z stepped out for the 30th GLAAD Media Awards in Beverly Hills, where they were both honored with the Vanguard Award. GLAAD — a media monitoring organization that pushes for acceptance and inclusiveness — presents the award to LGBTQ allies who promote equal rights for the community.

JAY-Z, 49, wore a light pink tuxedo jacket and shirt, while Beyoncé opted for a black tuxedo wrap dress.

In her acceptance speech, Beyoncé dedicated the award to her late uncle, who she revealed had died from complications related to HIV.

“We’re here to promote love for every human being, and change starts with supporting the people closest to you,” she began. “So let’s tell them 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 our truest form.”

“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,” she shared. “He lived his truth and 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,” the singer continued, visibly emotional as JAY-Z put his hand lovingly on her back. “I’m hopeful that his struggle served to open pathways for other young people to live more freely. LGBTQI rights are human rights.”

JAY-Z, in turn, dedicated the award to his mother Gloria Carter.

Last year, the rapper received the GLAAD Special Recognition Award for his song and video for “Smile,” which featured his mom, who recently came out as a lesbian.

“I want to honor my mother, who received the award last year,” he said. “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.”

JAY-Z and Beyoncé

Beyoncé and JAY-Z follow in the footsteps of past Vanguard honorees including Cher, Janet Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Antonio Banderas.

When announcing that the pair would receive the award, the organization praised Beyoncé’s outspoken support for the nationwide legalization of gay marriage, her practice of hiring members of the LGBTQ community for her music videos, and her concert dedicated to survivors of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting. GLAAD also cited JAY-Z for his support for gay marriage, as well as his incorporation of work from LGBTQ figures like James Baldwin into his own art.

“Beyoncé and JAY-Z are global icons and passionate defenders of human rights and acceptance for all people,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement at the time.

“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,” Ellis added.