The music icons were honored with GLAAD’s Vanguard Award this year in recognition of their respective support for LGBTQ causes. But as they took the stage at the Beverly Hilton, the duo took a moment to pay tribute to their own LGBTQ family members.
“I want to dedicate this award to my uncle Johnny, the most fabulous gay man I’ve ever known who helped raise me and my sister,” Beyoncé told the crowd. “He lived his truth. He was brave and unapologetic during a time when this country wasn’t as accepting, and witnessing his battle with HIV was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever lived.”
“I’m hopeful that his struggles serve to open pathways for other young people to live more freely,” she added. “LGBTQI rights are human rights.”
Jay-Z, meanwhile, offered words of praise for his mother, Gloria Carter, who came out as a lesbian in the song “Smile,” which appeared on his 2017 album, “4:44.” (The track earned the rapper a GLAAD Special Recognition Award last year.)
“I get to follow in her footsteps for spreading love and acceptance,” he said.
Earlier in the show, Beyoncé got a special tribute of her own when “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Shangela performed a seven-minute tribute of the diva’s greatest hits.
The night’s other big winners included Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” which was named Outstanding Reality Program, and the teen-centric romantic comedy “Love, Simon,” which received Outstanding Film ― Wide Release.”
Picking up the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, “Will & Grace” star Sean Hayes offered a tongue-in-cheek speech that zinged “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, who allegedly staged a racist and homophobic hate crime, and Vice President Mike Pence.