There are few voices in the world of pop culture that are more powerful than those of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, especially when it comes to advocating for human rights. Now, the Carters are about to be rewarded for their longtime activism. Beyoncé and Jay-Z will receive the GLAAD Vanguard Award at the 2019 GLAAD Media Awards on March 28, 2019. The honor celebrates allies of the LGBTQ community who have fought for equality and done important work to promote acceptance of LGBTQ people.
“Beyoncé and Jay-Z are longtime allies and supporters of the LGBTQ community who use their global platforms to share messages that inspire and change the world for the better,” GLAAD stated in their press release announcing the news. Most people reacted very positively to the news, celebrating it as a win for LGBTQ people of color especially. But, if you're wondering what, exactly, the famous couple has done to deserve such an honor, well, they've actually done a lot.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z's history in openly supporting the LGBTQ community speaks for itself. Beyoncé has consistently spoken out against laws that discriminate against the LGBTQ community, including North Carolina’s controversial 2016 House Bill 2, also known as the "bathroom bill." She has also made it a point to champion queer youth, stating on Facebook in 2017, “#LGBTQ students need to know we support them". She has also promoted visibility for the community by including LGBTQ people in some of her music videos and showcasing transgender icon Laverne Cox as a model for her athleisure line Ivy Park, as noted in the GLAAD press release.
Most recently, in her September 2018 Vogue cover story, Beyoncé expressed support of her children loving someone regardless of their gender. “They can explore any religion, fall in love with any race, and love who they want to love,” she stated.
The couple was also very vocal in their support for marriage equality prior to it being legal in the United States. And when it was legalized in the U.S. in late June of 2015, Beyoncé famously celebrated the achievement on Instagram with a rainbow dance video, captioning the post with the hashtag #LoveWins.
As for Jay-Z, his history with the LGBTQ community also runs deeper than most may expect. The rapper received a GLAAD Special Recognition Award in 2018 for using his song and accompanying music video, “Smile," as a vehicle for his mother Gloria Carter to come out as a lesbian and tell her life story. The rapper has also featured other LGBTQ people in his work, including leading transgender activist Janet Mock in his video for “Family Feud."
“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. Ellis continued:
“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.”
Previous recipients of the GLAAD Vanguard Award include Elizabeth Taylor, Whoopi Goldberg, Antonio Banderas, and several fellow music icons, like Cher, Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, and Britney Spears. Needless to say, Beyoncé and Jay-Z are joining some prestigious company in receiving this honor.