The “Beautiful Liar” singer delivered an emotional speech at the Beverly Hilton Hotel where she and her rapper husband Jay-Z accepted the Vanguard Award for their contributions to the LGBT community at the 30th annual awards show.
Beyonce fought back tears as she dedicated the honor to her late uncle Johnny, whom she described as “the most fabulous gay man I’ve ever known, that I ever knew, who helped raise me and my sister (Solange)”.
“He lived his truth, he was brave and unapologetic during 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. I’m hopeful his struggles served to open pathways to help 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 said, referencing her line from her 2016 hit song “Formation”.
She also praised her husband for breaking down the stigma in the anti-homosexual hip-hop community. Jay-Z and Beyonce are credited with normalizing homosexuality among Black youth.
“I would say that one of the most beautiful memories of my tour was looking out from the stage every night and seeing the hardest gangsta trappin’ right next to the most fabulous queen [flamboyant homosexual male],” she said. “Respecting and celebrating each other.”
Jay-Z thanked his mother Gloria Carter, who was honored by GLAAD the previous year for coming out as a lesbian on her son’s 2017 song “Smile”.
“Thank you, GLAAD, for this amazing honor and having us this evening. Life, this journey, is filled with highs, lows and a lot of learning. This is a momentous night and I also want to honor my mother who received an award last year,” he said. “I get to follow in her footsteps in spreading love and acceptance and her beautiful speech at the end of the song Smile and for her allowing me to tell her story. I want everyone to acknowledge that.”