On Thursday night (April 8), GLAAD celebrated their 32nd annual GLAAD Media Awards with a special livestreamed ceremony. Filled with love, acceptance and lots of trophies getting handed out to queer folks working in the entertainment industry, the show proved to be yet another successful celebration of LGBTQ exceptionalism in media.
Throughout the show, there were a number of moments where queer artists got to shine in the spotlight, from winning awards to storming the stage. Below, Billboard breaks down five of the best musical moments that took place at the 2021 GLAAD Media Awards.
Sam Smith won while throwing a “tea party”
With the pandemic still keeping people everywhere confined to their homes, the artists and presenters at the media awards had to call in for the evening’s festivities — a fact that Sam Smith took to their advantage. After being presented the award for outstanding music artist by fellow pop phenom Katy Perry, Smith cozied up on their couch with a hot cup of tea to offer a hearty “cheers” to their fellow nominees. “Music has remained this constant force of unity throughout the world for people … these are the albums that got me and got all of us through this year,” they said. “So I just wanted to raise a cup of tea — having a tea party — for everyone in this category. I really hope that we can all be together and I can go to a GLAAD Awards someday and meet everyone.”
Chika thanked herself before delivering a stellar mash-up
Shortly before the ceremony began, rapper Chika earned a career milestone when she took home her first award ever for outstanding breakthrough music artist. In a speech posted to GLAAD’s Twitter, Chika sarcastically decided to dedicate the award to herself, and no one else. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to sit here and sing these songs and not give anyone credit, especially the people who gave birth to me and my management,” she said, smirking. “So thank you guys, from Chika and Chika only, not Warner, and not the band behind me. Just me.” That didn’t stop the celebration: During the ceremony, the rapper rolled up for a top-tier performance of her songs “FWB” and “Save You,” featuring a full band, backup dancers, lights and, of course, her stunning voice.
Jessica Betts asks wife Niecy Nash to “Catch Me” with moving performance
After coming out earlier this year, actress Niecy Nash stepped in to host the GLAAD Media Awards — and lucky for us, she brought her wife. Taking to the virtual stage halfway through the stream, Jessica Betts gave an emotional, stripped-down performance of her latest single “Catch Me.” A beautiful ode to queer love, Betts stepped into frame with just a microphone and a guitar singing directly to her wife. “When love takes flight/ I’m waiting right now/ Will you catch me/ Before the air lets out,” she sang, glancing over at Nash. It’s clear the host approved of the performance, giving Betts a kiss at the end, while declaring, “That’s my baby right there, that’s all me!”
The Glee cast & Demi Lovato honored Naya Rivera
To celebrate the life of the late actress Naya Rivera, the cast of Glee reunited to reflect on her legacy and the impact of her character from the show, Santana Lopez. Demi Lovato, who briefly played Rivera’s girlfriend on the show, introduced the cast by asking LGBTQ youth watching at home to look to the actress as an example of activism, saying, “It’s been 10 years since Santana Lopez came out; look at what LGBTQ teens have done in a decade. Imagine what they can do in the next one.” As for the cast, much of the segment was spent remembering what a kind, talented friend Rivera was. “When Naya passed, an all of these messages came in over social media, the messsages were all the same,” said Kevin McHale, the actor behind Glee’s lovable dweeb Artie Abrams. “She would treat you how she treated me, someone she knew and saw every single day, or how she would treat her family.”
Rebecca Black threw herself a karaoke party in “Girlfriend” performance
To end the evening’s festivities, pop singer Rebecca Black showed up for a showstopping, glitter-filled performance of her latest single “Girlfriend.” Clad in a shimmering corset and skirt and sitting in what looked like the remnants of a blowout birthday party, the singer strutted across the stage, belting out her anthem for queer love. “I’m gonna call her, drive on over/ Wanna see her, wanna hold her,” she wailed into the microphone, bouncing around her candy-colored ballroom. “It hit me all of a sudden/ I’m getting back with my girlfriend.”
Watch the entirety of the 2021 GLAAD Media Awards below: