Beyonce & JAY-Z's GLAAD Awards Speech Honored Their LGBTQ Family Members & The Right To Red Lobster
The GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles honored representations of the LGBTQ community in the media on Thursday, March 28, and two of the biggest performers on the planet showed what being an ally is all about. The Mr. and Mrs. Carter were on hand to receive the Vanguard award for their support of the LGBTQ community in their art, and Beyoncé and Jay-Z's GLAAD acceptance speech showed how personal this award was for them, as they honored their own LGBTQ family members — JAY-Z's mother and Beyoncé's uncle, who she revealed had died of AIDS. And through their powerful words of support, they continued to solidify their status as advocates of the LGBTQ community, while fighting for everyone's right to take their partner to Red Lobster, no matter their gender.
The GLAAD Media Vanguard Award is specifically for people who do not identify as LGBTQ, but have helped to promote equal rights for the LGBTQ community through their work in the entertainment industry. And, following a seven-minute Beyoncé tribute performance by Shangela of RuPaul's Drag Race, HIV activist Morris Singletary, trans advocate and Pose producer Janet Mock, Beyoncé's stylist Ty Hunter, and writer and actor Lena Waithe each took turns honoring the couple, according to Deadline. But when Bey and Jay took the stage to accept the award, they made this moment not about them, but about the LGBTQ people in their own lives who impacted them and the importance of acceptance.
In his touching speech, Jay-Z recognized his mother Gloria Carter, who he had rapped about in his song "Smile" that discussed her experience of coming out as a lesbian after years in the closet. Carter, herself, accepted a special recognition award at last year's GLAAD Media Awards in New York because of her contribution to "Smile." "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," JAY-Z said, per Entertainment Weekly.
Beyoncé also discussed an LGBTQ family member who had made a significant impact on her and her sister Solange Knowles. "I want to dedicate this award to my Uncle Johnny — the most fabulous gay man that I ever knew, who helped raise me and my sister," Beyoncé said. She continued:
"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 that his struggle served to open pathways for other young people to live more freely. LGBTQI rights are human rights."
While Queen Bey's speech was, for the most part, very emotional, she also offered a more light-hearted moment. "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 "when he f*ck me good, I take his ass to Red Lobster" line from "Formation" — for a truly crowd-pleasing moment.
As EW reported, GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, "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." And through their acceptance speech at the GLAAD Awards, they used their voices to make the message of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ community crystal clear, along with their love for Red Lobster.