Beyoncé and JAY-Z graciously accepted the Vanguard Award during Thursday night’s GLAAD Media Awards. Honored for their outstanding contributions to the LGBTQ community, the couple offered touching acceptance speeches, recounting very personal experiences.
JAY-Z gave a shout-out to his mother, Gloria Carter, who came out as a lesbian on his 4:44 track “Smile.” “I get to follow in her footsteps for spreading love and acceptance and her beautiful speech at the end of the song—and for allowing me to tell her story,” he said.
The emcee was awarded GLAAD’s Special Recognition Award for the song and music video at last year’s Media Awards.
Beyoncé was almost brought to tears as she honored her late uncle who had HIV. “I want to dedicate this award to my uncle Johnny, the most fabulous gay man I have ever known, who helped raise me and my sister,” she said.
Opening up about her uncle’s experience as a gay man in America, she continued, “He lived his truth and he was brave and unapologetic at 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. “
Going further, she added, “LGBTQI rights are human rights. To choose who you love is your human right. How you identify and see yourself is your human right.”
The Lemonade singer was met with laughter and much applause after she said, “Who you make love to and take that a** to Red Lobster is your human right,” referencing a lyric from her single “Formation.”
Beyoncé celebrated their big moment with a post shared to Instagram.
The couple now joins the likes of Janet Jackson, Kerry Washington and Whoopi Goldberg, who have previously received GLAAD’s Vanguard Award.
Check out a brief clip from Beyoncé and JAY-Z’s acceptance speech below: