Our Queen and her husband were honoured last night with the Vanguard Award at the GLAAD Media Awards last night. Janet Mock, HIV activist Morris Singletary, Lena Waithe, and Ty Hunter, who’s worked with Beyoncé since 1999, when she and Miss Janet met him at a mall and invited him to help out with styling on tour. All of them spoke about how the Carters have used their platform to spread the message of acceptance and inclusion. Lena talked about their combined power and the difference it can make when two people who are as influential as Beyoncé and Jay-Z stand up for marginalised people, for those who do not enjoy equal rights. And Shangela set the room on fire with a 7 minute Beyoncé medley performed with Beyoncé in the audience that even Beyoncé could barely handle. Here’s a taste:
And this was B’s reaction:
Can you imagine how f-cking hard that must have been? To tribute BEYONCÉ …in front of BEYONCÉ?! She nailed that signature strut!
As we’ve seen, the Carters are becoming more and more selective about where they choose to show up or where they do NOT show up. They weren’t at the Grammys. They did not go to the BRIT Awards – but they did send a thank you message that wasn’t so much an acceptance speech than it was a declaration of their protection over Meghan Markle. That they decided to attend the GLAAD Media Awards and speak – which is even more rare – was intentional. Jay began by saying that, "You know life, this journey, is filled with highs, lows and a lot of learning”, an acknowledgement that like so many others, like us, he may have not been as kind and as respectful, as embracing as he could have been, as he is now. He then went on to talk about his mother, Gloria, who is gay, who is featured on his song “Smile”, a song Lena Waithe described as “revolutionary”, calling it a “modern-day negro spiritual, reminding those in hiding there is still time to make their way to freedom”. In Beyoncé’s remarks, she too pointed to Jay’s growth and for “making incredible strides towards changing stigmas in the hip-hop community”, that she has “watched [him] take those steps”, using his position in the industry, as a mogul, as a legend, to challenge stereotypes and homophobia. This came after she emotionally shared her memories of her Uncle Johnny, “the most fabulous gay man” in her life, who died of HIV. Here’s an edited version of their remarks:
What that version does not include is her best line:
I would be hype if I was there too. I wasn’t there and I’m hype just watching it, hearing her say those words. She knows. She knows exactly the affect she has, how her lyrics have become part of a collective consciousness, the impact she has on the larger culture. Which is why her presence and participation last night was such a big deal. So now that this is off the schedule…what’s NEXT?