Beyoncé and Jay-Z Accept GLAAD Vanguard Award in Emotional Speech: 'LGBTQI Rights Are Human Rights'

In a very special evening, global superstars Beyoncé and Jay-Z received the Vanguard Award for their continued support of the LGBTQ community at Thursday’s GLAAD Media Awards.  

The pair were introduced by a series of presenters, including trans director Janet Mock, stylist Ty Hunter and actress, writer and producer Lena Waithe. Each of the three spoke independently about the artists, before bringing them on to the stage to receive their award.   

   

Jay-Z started off their speech by thanking GLAAD for honoring them with the award, and thanking his mother, Gloria Carter, who received a special GLAAD Award last year for her brave coming out speech on Jay’s track “Smile.” The rapper said that it was because of his mother that he was able to learn about love and acceptance.   

“This journey is filled with highs, lows and a lot of learning,” he said. “I’m following in her footsteps of spreading love and acceptance, and [thanking her] for her beautiful speech at the end of the song ‘Smile,’ and for allowing me to tell her story.”   

Beyoncé then took to the podium to deliver the remainder of the speech, where she spoke on how “overwhelmed” she felt at receiving such an honor, thanking the various presenters and performers for honoring them. “I put a run in my stocking from Shangela,” the singer said, referencing a show-stopping performance to a medley of Beyoncé songs from drag superstar Shangela.   

The “Single Ladies” singer continued, saying that her favorite memory from her most recent tour was when she looked out at the crowd and saw “the hardest gangster trapping out right next to the most fabulous queen.” Beyoncé said that these connections are what tie all of us together.   

   

“Whether it's our fans or our family, the LGBTQI community has always supported us and lifted us up. And we thank you for that,” she said. “We are here to promote love for every human being, and change starts with supporting the people closest to you. So let's tell them they are loved, let's remind them they are beautiful, and parents, let's love our kids in their truest form.”  

Beyoncé went on to dedicate her award to her uncle Johnny, a man she described as “the most fabulous gay man I have ever met.” The star said that after watching her beloved uncle suffer and die from HIV, she knew that she had a responsibility to carry out a mission of love. “He lived his truth, he was brave and unapologetic during a time when this country wasn't as accepting,” she said. “I'm hopeful that his struggle served to open pathways for other young people to live more freely.”

Closing out her speech, Beyoncé affirmed the crowd in their beliefs, making clear that the issues in the LGBTQ community are issues for everyone. “LGBTQI rights are human rights,” she cheered. “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!”

Watch a clip of the Beyoncé and Jay-Z's acceptance speech below:

THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.